We heard Commissioner Troy on a radio program speaking about the County Commissioners Association of Ohio preparing a briefing guide of requests and suggestions for the candidates running for Governor of Ohio. We asked for an electronic copy so that we could publish it on our website for anyone that may be interested. He, graciously, asked that a copy be sent to us.
It does provide and an interesting history of County government.
Here are some excerpts from the briefing guide. Some monetary and some policy changes that the County Commissioners would like the State to consider.
What a stronger partnership should look like:
• Restore the $166 million annual Medicaid MCO revenue loss to counties.
• Restore the LGF to its previous statutory level of 3.68 percent of the General Revenue
Fund (GRF) taxes, creating an additional $145 million annually for counties. Currently
the LGF receives 1.66 percent of GRF taxes, as compared to 3.68 percent in 2008
• Establish and fund a special state line item for counties to pay for a portion of the
increased costs related to the explosive growth of the opiate epidemic crisis.
• Assume total responsibility for indigent defense. In Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the
U.S. Supreme Court held that the fundamental right to counsel is made obligatory
upon the states by the fourteenth amendment. The state should accept this
responsibility and stop requiring its counties to bear 50 percent or more of the costs.
The Ohio Public Defender’s Office estimates that in fiscal year 2018, indigent defense
services will cost counties $79.5 million.
Priority policy solutions to strengthen the partnership between state and county
• County Government Reform
Counties stand ready and willing to launch a total reform of county government;
however, attempts for large scale change have proven difficult in the past. If Ohio is not
ready to take on a comprehensive reform effort, it should consider the items below as a
◦ Provide commissioners with greater budgetary control and management.
◦ Regionalize county coroner offices.
◦ Restructure veterans service commissions to enhance accountability and delivery
of services to our veterans.
• Sales Tax Base
The sales tax has become the most important revenue source for both the state and for
counties, yet the General Assembly continually carves out new exemptions from the sales
tax. Ohio must protect the existing sales tax base from further erosion and carve outs.
• Economic Development
Modern, well maintained public infrastructure, coupled with a dependable, skilled
workforce are vital when it comes to attracting businesses to Ohio’s communities. The
state can partner with counties to create a job friendly environment by focusing on
these top policy priorities.
◦ Modernize road and bridge funding to address local transportation needs.
◦ Address the needs of modern water and sewer infrastructure.
◦ Expand access to broadband technology to unserved areas.
◦ Uphold local best practices and flexibility in county workforce programs and
provide adequate funding for early childhood education initiatives in a way that
does not compromise county funding or access to child care.
◦ Protect Ohio’s valuable water resources from harmful nutrients by providing
additional funding for Soil and Water Conservation Districts as well as water and