Recently the governor unveiled the Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) which is fancy language for revisiting the two-year budget in its second year. As a member of Finance Committee, I have been listening to weeks of testimony about adjustments being proposed by the administration.
I am very concerned about what is not in the proposed HB 487. First, the governor had promised that he would step forward this year with his proposed school funding formula. There is no mention of it in the bill. Also of concern is that there is no talk of restoration of the massive cuts made last year to K-12 education (over $1 billion), local governments (over $600 million), higher education and more. These cuts are leading to more local school levy issues, cuts in teachers and cuts in local safety forces. With revenue running about $180 million above projections, I have asked why we are not restoring those cuts to help taxpayers at the local level. The answers have been very clear that the administration hasn’t considered and won’t consider restoring the cuts using our excess revenue.
You may have read recently that Cleveland Schools are looking at a very large levy campaign. Their schools are facing a projected $65-million dollar deficit after losing $59-million just last year from the Governor’s cuts. He is also suggesting an unfunded reading proficiency program which will result in an unfunded mandate for our schools at a time when they are struggling financially. This all comes at a time when the administration is talking about tax breaks for banks in Ohio. I will continue to fight to restore funding for our schools and local communities. We should always make school funding a priority in Ohio because it is critical to our children and to our economic future. Our children and our communities must come first.
I hope you’ll make plans to join me for my next “Lundy Listens” town hall meeting Saturday May 5 at 11 a.m. at the Grafton-Midview Public Library (983 Main St., Grafton). I look forward to updating you on activity in Columbus. Please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about state government at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-644-5076. I work for you and look forward to serving you.