Gentile proposes budget amendment

COLUMBUS – State Sen. Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) announced Wednesday he will offer an amendment to the State budget that would increase local government funds by 2.52 percent. This amendment would make $361 million available to communities across Ohio over the next two years.

The request for an increase in funding comes from a coalition of local government representatives that have been advocating for an increase in funding, after the previous budget cut $500 million for Ohio’s Local Government Fund.

“It is time to restore some of the disproportionate funding cuts enacted during the last budget. Communities in Eastern and southeastern Ohio continue to struggle to provide basic services,” Gentile stated. “These cuts have jeopardized the safety of our citizens and small business growth. The state has nearly 2 billion dollars in the rainy day fund and in the meantime local governments have been forced to lay off police officers and fire fighters and cut other critical services that our families rely on.”

A 2.52 percent increase in local government funding would result in approximately $177 Million in fiscal year 14 and $184 Million in fiscal year 15. Local government funds generally pay for safety forces, garbage collection, and parks and recreation in counties, cities, villages and townships.

“As state legislators we have an obligation to provide adequate resources to our local governments to ensure the health and safety of our citizens,” Sen. Gentile said. “In order to strengthen and grow our economy we must invest in local services that enhance job creation.”