WAYS TO REFORM OHIO'S BUDGET
July 13, 2009
Ohio's budget is in fiscal crisis with legislators and the governor attempting to cover a $3 billion shortfall between revenue and spending. That's a significant amount of money, but it's not an insurmountable problem, Marc Kilmer, a policy analyst with the Buckeye Institute.
Policymakers could begin to cover the gap if they consider the following recommendations, says Kilmer:
Eliminate the Department of Development:
- This corporate welfare agency hasn't helped Ohio's economy and few would miss it if it were eliminated entirely.
- Savings: $157 million over two years.
Move away from Medicaid institutional care:
- Unlike most other states, Ohio relies on expensive institutional care like nursing homes for its Medicaid recipients (most recipients prefer cheaper alternatives like in-home care over nursing homes).
- Savings: $400 million per year.
Reform Medicaid Florida-Style:
- Medicaid offers low-quality, high-cost care and it takes up a large portion of the budget; reforms enacted in Florida provide Ohio lawmakers an excellent roadmap for tackling this difficult issue.
- Savings: $1.5 billion per year.
Education funding should follow the student:
- If the state implemented a plan where the dollars followed students to whatever school they choose, it would lead to a better education for students as well as savings to the taxpayers.
- Savings: $500 million per year.
Increase state employee health insurance premiums:
- On average, state employees pay 15 percent of the premiums for health insurance; their private sector colleagues pay roughly 20 percent and state employees should pay the same.
- Savings: $57 million over two years.
Eliminate non-vital agencies:
- The Ohio Arts Council, the Cultural Facilities Commission, the Commission on Minority Health, e-Tech Ohio, the Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs, and the Ohioana Library Association may serve certain special interest groups well, but in this budget crisis the services they provide are hardly vital.
- Savings: $111 million over two years.
Source: Marc Kilmer, "Ten Ways to Reform the State Budget," Buckeye Institute, July 6, 2009.
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