COLUMBUS--Today, members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus issued the following statements regarding the estimates released by the Office of Budget and Management indicating that Ohio will finish fiscal year 2013 with a $408 million surplus.
Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati):
"This shows that Gov. Kasich's planning is poor. This money should have been used to assist Ohio schools or struggling local governments. To the extent the Ohio economy is rebounding it is attributable to President Obama's decisive action to save Ohio's auto industry and prevent the bottom from falling out of Ohio's economy."
Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman):
"Governor Kasich's decision to cut local government funding by 50 percent has forced taxpayers to foot the bill through additional levies. If this surplus holds, these funds could help struggling families and Ohio's children by restoring essential services and reinvesting in our public schools."
Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland):
It is wrong to force local governments to ask their citizens to vote for tax increases while the state sits on a surplus of hundreds of millions of dollars. This is especially true if next year yields another surplus for the state's books. It is only right that the state return this money to cities, counties, and townships to provide relief to local taxpayers and support the critical services that these local governments provide.
Sen. Tom Sawyer (D-Akron):
"It's good to see continuing signs of economic recovery. It's also important to remember that we still face a number of fiscal obligations, and we are still months away from knowing how positive our actual fund balance might turn out to be. Meanwhile, state cuts have required local governments to cut services or pursue tax increases, thereby affecting local safety forces and infrastructure. Several major school districts, including Cleveland and Akron, have been forced to the ballot to make up for lost revenue. I am encouraged by this news, but recovery in state and local government revenue is still slow in coming. If we do have a significant fund balance next year, I would ask the Governor to reconsider his unwillingness to reverse the local government and education funding cuts contained in his last budget."