NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Ohio Legislators Need to Take Responsibility

June 30, 2003

State legislators are spinning Ohioans a tale about the need to increase taxes to balance Ohio's budget. But concern that Medicaid and K-12 education are "too important to cut" ignores the research that shows it is possible to slim them down without cutting benefits or quality, says Matthew Hisrich of the Buckeye Institute.

Any claim that citizens and policymakers just have to resign themselves to higher taxes in order to fund these programs every budget session is dubious at best, he says.

Take Medicaid, for instance. In March, The Buckeye Institute released Reforming Medicaid in Ohio, a study showing that if Medicaid were not fundamentally overhauled, it would grow to consume the entire state budget.

  • It proposed options for reform designed to increase efficiency and lower costs while improving the quality of care.
  • The projected savings from these suggestions came to $1.5 billion annually in the short term.
  • More importantly, reforming Medicaid now would significantly reduce its rate of growth and prevent budget crises in the future.
  • If the current Senate biennium budget is passed, state spending on education will exceed what it was just four years ago by 36 percent.
  • Education will then amount to roughly a third of all state general revenue fund spending.

If the desired result is an improvement in educational quality, expanding choice through vouchers or charter schools is likely to have a greater impact on student learning than increased spending, says Hisrich.

Source: Matthew Hisrich, "Statehouse Leaders Not "Forced" to Raise Ohioans Taxes," www.buckeyeinstitute.com, June 2003.

 

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