Columbus suburbs raise fees in response to state cuts


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Governor Kasich recently held a news conference in which he proclaimed that his 2011 accomplishments were unprecendented and like nothing anyone had ever seen before. He’d balanced the state budget without raising taxes, something no one in the media, he claimed, ever thought he could do.

Here’s the reality. While state taxes may not have gone up, it’s impossible to say that the Governor’s budget did not result in tax increases on Ohioans. Take this from today’s Columbus Dispatch:

Hilliard also will end its subsidy for trash pickup, saving the city about $800,000 a year but costing families about $188 a year.

The action aims to offset some of the $1 million lost in state funding this year. Statewide, Gov. John Kasich’s budget cuts aid to local governments by $633 million.

Hilliard residents will pay $188 more per year to receive the same level of services they had before the budget passed. Additional fee increases for local recreation programs were also implemented to round out the $1 million in state cuts.

What about those who claim that communities must not respond to state budget cuts with mass layoffs, but instead rationalize the services they provide? Here’s what happened in Gahanna:

Last year, Gahanna officials had a change of heart on a cost-cutting policy to delay snow plowing of the least-used city streets. A severe thaw and freeze had made several streets impassable.

It’s pretty clear – in response to budget cuts, communities can reduce services residents have come to expect, decreasing the quality of life and safety, or they can raise taxes. While claiming credit for some sort of magic feat of governing, Kasich’s budget merely pushed the tough choices down to the local level where the effects are beginning to be felt.

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