Full Text of Councilman Dan Langshaw’s State Budget Testimony

North Royalton Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw
Substitute House Bill 49 Testimony
Ohio Senate Finance Committee
May 31, 2017

Chairman Oelslager, Vice Chair Manning, Ranking Member Skindell, and committee members. My name is Dan Langshaw and I am the Ward 3 Councilman on the North Royalton City Council. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on Substitute House Bill 49 the State Operating Budget.

Why am I here today? It is simple our Governor John Kasich and you our leaders in the Ohio General Assembly are failing to listen to the concerns of my constituents, my fellow local government leaders, and all Ohioans in this next state budget. What makes matters worse, is in the Governor’s original budget proposal he called for changing how our state allocates the over $368 million dollar local government fund to be allocated based on need, or the local governments “capacity” to raise local revenue. This is a complete betrayal against everything that this fund was established for dating back to 1930s.

This funding is supposed to return money from Columbus back to the local governments who are the closest to ensuring the needs of the people that live in their respective communities. A study done earlier this year by Policy Matters Ohio reported that cuts in local government funds and tax changes made at the state level will cost Ohio counties and communities an estimated $1.2 billion dollars in 2017, as compared to 2010.

I live in the 24th Ohio Senate District in which Senator Dolan represents. There are about 28 different communities that call this district home, including my city of North Royalton. We all have taken a disproportionate hit from the last state budget, losing over $10 million dollars in combined local government cuts. Since 2011 the state has made deep cuts to local government fund through slashing it in half from 3.68% to 1.66% today. As a result my own city has experienced over $5 million dollars in state local government funding cuts. Attached is a chart of a breakdown of those cuts since 2011.

Residents I serve and all Ohioans wonder why there are so many communities having to put more levies, bond issues, and other ballot measures these days? Why are our highways, roads, bridges, and infrastructure falling apart in our state? The answer is looking you in the mirror. It is you our leaders in Columbus who have caused this and it is not getting any better. Local governments are not getting the funding they desperately need to address these important issues in our communities.

The budget that was approved by the House made some positive changes. In the most recent version, it discards the proposed changes to the distribution of the local government fund that the Governor originally proposed. Also the provisions that would have centralized collection of municipal income tax have been taken out of the budget.

However, the House failed to address the issue of improving local government funding. There were three amendments that were offered by members that would have either increased the local government fund to either 2.25% or 3.5% or even 3.68%. Sadly none of them were included in the House’s approved version of House Bill 49. Attached to my testimony are copies of those amendments.

In closing, Senators the cuts in local government fund, decline of the CAT tax, and elimination of the estate tax have not created the Ohio miracle that the Governor had promised years ago. Instead it has created the nightmare for all of Ohio’s local governments and its people. Local governments are better equipped and the closest to the people to address the needs of our communities. I urge you and your fellow Senators to invest back into Ohio’s communities and add to Substitute House Bill 49 an increase in the local government fund to 3.68%. It won’t fully restore all the cuts the state has made since 2011, but would be a step in the direction for Ohio’s recovery. Until then I am opposed to this budget.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.