Rep. Cera frustrated by possible local cuts

BELLAIRE – The Ohio Department of Taxation recently notified county auditors that their estimated revenues for calendar year 2014 have probably changed. According to Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), many counties will suffer another blow to their respective Local Government Funds (LGF) due to these additional cuts. According to the Department of Taxation, the change in the estimated figure is due to the impact tax law changes in House Bill 59 (the state budget bill).

“One of the reasons I opposed HB 59 was the process that brought us last minute tax law changes without being aware of the consequences,” said Rep. Cera. “Another reason was the failure to restore cuts to local governments and libraries. Both reasons have now come together as our local communities are cut further due to these last minute changes.”

Rep. Cera went on to say that while these figures are estimates, it is well known that the fund is likely to vary by an unknown degree of up to 4 percent.

“Our local governments and libraries are going to be short-changed again,” said Rep. Cera. “They have been financially strapped the last several years and now may suffer another blow. In the long run, not only do they feel the impact, but we, the individuals relying on the services that are paid for by the LGF suffer too.”

State law stipulates that the LGF is to receive a designated percentage of state revenue. Since the budget bill changed some of these revenue streams, it has caused a change that will lead to some counties and libraries receiving less money.

“County auditors and budget commissions must now prepare new distribution figures and inform their subdivisions that the earlier estimates were wrong,” Cera added. “This is a waste of manpower and time and created more budgeting obstacles for local governments and libraries. We must look at restoring cuts made to the LGF in the state budget.”

Since the new General Assembly started in January of this year, Rep. Cera has said that funding needed to be restored to the local government fund. He even introduced HB 17, urging the Ohio legislature to take funding levels back to 2005.