Thursday, February 07, 2008

Potential local impact of state budget cuts

The information in this post is courtesy of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

As Governor Ted Strickland deals with projected budget shortfalls of between $733 million and $1.9 billion, reductions in department spending and possibly layoffs are being planned.

As counties are the local arm of state government, cuts in state department budgets usually impact county department budgets. Here is a recap of some of the planned cuts and how they may impact us in Lucas County.

Department of Job and Family Services

This department is looking at cuts of $67.5 million in FY08 and FY09. The department is hoping to absorb most of the cuts internally through attrition, early retirement incentives and potentially reducing 300-600 positions.

County departments are being asked to see what can be done internally as well. ODJFS does not want to mandate across the board cuts, but wants to see what county JFS departments can come up with first.

They plan to institute a 10% reduction in the child support state match. However, they will continue to move forward with expanding coverage for adult dental and increased rates for community healthcare providers. Planned increases in in-patient hospital reimbursement rates as well as recalibration rates for hospitals will be delayed.

Department of Aging

They have funding to continue core activities without service interruption, including new PASSPORT enrollment as well as funding for those on the waiting list for Assisted Living. Plans are for the governor to seek legislative approval to eliminate the 3% Medicaid reimbursement rate increase in FY09 for PASSPORT and Choices providers that was previously approved as part of the budget bill.

Department of Mental Health

Closing two psychiatric hospitals has already been reported, with some patients being shifted to units here in Toledo. This department plans to reduce staff and equipment and contract spending by 20% each.

Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities

In addition to internal cuts, they plan to move 150-170 people from developmental centers to Martin waivers, allowing for closure of some cottages in development centers.

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One thing I must do is compliment the governor on the budget projection process. He and his staff looked at three scenarios: the economic picture staying the same - getting a bit worse - and getting bad. He's basing these cuts upon those projections. This is a useful and pragmatic approach that counties and cities should take as well. It would certainly put into perspective the serious implications such economic downturns have upon public budgets and would force people to prioritize necessities over niceties when it comes to public spending.

5 comments:

Jay Ott said...

Maggie,

I agree with you that Gov. Strickland is to be complimented for these reductions.

However, what is the bigger picture here? I'd like to know how is it that what the governor is doing squares with what he is saying about Hillary Clinton?

Gov. Strickland endorses Hillary and he urges Ohioans to elect Hillary because she is the "best qualified candidate" and has "the best plan."

The governor seems to be making the necessary cuts in one area while advocating Hillary's plan which will expand government, take more money from people, whose honesty and integrity is questionable and has a very different view of what the role, the purpose, and authority of government is than what the founding fathers intended and wrote about.

Maggie Thurber said...

now, now, Jay...there you go ... confusing the business of running a state with the politics of a presidential campaign. No logic allowed there...LOL!

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

It is indeed refreshing to see a politician, any politician, willing to look at cuts, to solve an impending budget shortfall.

Do you think that we can get Governor Strickland to come to Toledo and to introduce our so-called leaders to the concept of cutting budgets?

Maggie Thurber said...

That's funny, Hooda...

But I remember when Taft suggested some cuts and how all the Dems here locally howled about terrible he was cutting all these social service things...I'm waiting to see if we hear the same thing now that it's a Dem governor making the suggestions.

Not saying it's right, mind you...just more of the hypocrisy.

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

I too would like to give the governnor credit for the reductions and for what appears to be a common sense approach to the budget problems of the state. However, his support of the Clinton campaign leads me to believe that all of this is simply his anticipation of a Democrat in the White House who will nationalize health care, relieving the state of these responsibilities.

In the compartmentalized thinking of politicians, if the money used is Federal and not State, then it's not his problem. It will be ours however.

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