Ohio Budget Preview: Public Safety


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In the 2010-2011 Budget, the legislature attempted to remove the Highway Patrol from gas tax funding by increasing a variety of fees for registering vehicles and other activities. In the end, however, the patrol did receive some funds from the gas tax, obtained by reducing a discount that petroleum distributors receive for payment of the tax to the state. The GOP-led Senate refused to adopt some of the fees that had been proposed, leaving the patrol underfunded compared to the Department’s budget.

For 2012-2013, the Patrol claims it needs another $50-60 million in the biennium to operate at normal levels. Some options for the administration and legislature include: providing additional funds from the state gas tax (therefore making less available for road construction), raising additional fees on motorists, or continuing to reduce funding for the Patrol.

Within the Patrol budget, it will be interesting to see how much the line item for the Security and Investigation fund is increased, given Governor Kasich’s choice to remain in his Westerville home, necessitating costly improvements such as the construction of a guard shack, fence, cameras and gate. There are also rumors that the Governor has requested a doubling of the security detail he receives. According to a Patrol spokesperson, the budget request levels for this fund were increased by 46% in Fiscal 2012 vs. 2011. It remains to be seen what is approved by OBM and the Kasich administration, but it appears large increases are possible.

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