YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio’s chief accountant admitted years of funding cuts by state lawmakers have been causing economic problems for local counties and communities, including Mahoning County.
Mahoning County commissioners said that means state leaders may finally be waking up to a problem that’s been plaguing them the last half-dozen years.
In 2011, the state’s so-called “Local Government Fund,” which was created in the 1930s to send state sales tax revenues back to local communities, was cut in half.
“Mahoning County used to get around $6.5 million. We’re less than $2 million and it’s decreasing, so about over half of our money, and a lot of that was used to subsidize the jail, it was used to patch holes,” Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said.
Traficanti said the lost revenue forced commissioners to ask voters for a quarter-percent sales tax hike a couple of years ago to make up the difference.
Now, Auditor of State Dave Yost has issued a report indicating many communities have been affected. He warned further cuts in state aid to local governments will only make the problems worse.
Commissioners hope the auditor’s comments will spread to lawmakers as they work on Ohio’s next biennium budget.