Ohio FOP and Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters Stand Together to Call on the Ohio Legislature to Restore Local Government Funds
Columbus- Today, Executive Officers of the Ohio FOP and Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters, stood with Ohio legislators to endorse a plan to partially restore local government funding that was slashed by last years budget. This plan, which members of the Ohio House of Representatives will introduce as an amendment of to the Mid-Biennium Review (HB 487), calls for the creation of the Kids and Communities First Fund, a fund to make up to $400 million available to local schools districts and communities.
Minority Leader Armond Budish stated he hopes this fund will attract support of other legislators because “It will help keep teachers in the classrooms and cops and fire fighters on the street in communities all across Ohio.”
The Kids and Communities First Fund DOES NOT raise taxes on Ohioans; instead it will be funded by using surplus revenue available to the State of Ohio. The State of Ohio has benefitted from nearly $265 million in revenue above and beyond their original estimates. The Fund also uses $120 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) or about half of its current value. New revenue ($15 million) from the increase in severance tax on Oil and Gas that was proposed by Governor Kasich would also be used to help local communities. Ohio’s local governments are hurting. Rural, suburban and urban areas are all struggling to provide essential services to its citizens. It is raining in every corner of Ohio and the Ohio legislature can help provide safe communities by living up to the covenant that was established in the 1930’s to share revenue with local governments.
“Ohio has a long tradition of helping our communities,” commented OAPFF President Mark Sanders. “Restoration of local government funds will help provide for the services most Ohioans rely on…local services including public safety.”
“The FOP recognizes that tough choices had to be made to balance the budget in 2011. However, new revenue has presented itself and should be dedicated to reverse those cuts to local governments now” said Jay McDonald, Ohio FOP President. “Layoffs, hiring freezes and cutbacks have decreased public safety all across Ohio. Now is the time to act to help those local communities in need.”