BG leaders: State must restore Local Government Fund

By Peter Kuebeck, [email protected]

Bowling Green Council on Monday unanimously passed a resolution strongly urging the Ohio governor and members of the Ohio General Assembly to restore the Local Government Fund to pre-recession levels.

A legislative package document prepared for council stated that since the Local Government Fund was reduced 11 years ago, the city’s cumulative loss has been over $6 million.

“As you can imagine, since the implementation of this revenue sharing,” said Mayor Mike Aspacher during Monday’s meeting, “local communities like Bowling Green have become dependent on these funds” to provide essential services to residents.

The document noted that the Local Government Fund is a tax revenue sharing mechanism between the State of Ohio and its local governments. The Local Government Fund dates back to 1934 when the state sales tax was introduced and has long been a pillar of state and local partnership.

During the Great Recession, the document stated, the state reduced the allocation to the Local Government Fund in order to balance its budget.

“The city, along with other local government entities who had long based their financial composition on revenue from the LGF, petitioned fervently in opposition of the reduction when it occurred and has consistently advocated for reinstatement of the funds,” the document stated.

The document states that, since the reduction was put in place, the state’s finances have greatly improved.

“Fast forward over a decade since the reduction and the state’s financial position has changed significantly including a healthy balance in the state’s ‘rainy day’ fund. When the state was in fiscal distress, local governments shouldered a portion of the burden to remedy the financial crisis. That crisis has been resolved and revisiting the allocation at this time is well warranted.

“Reinstatement of the LGF would significantly enhance the City of Bowling Green’s operating budget,” the document continued, “and thus, the city’s ability to provide essential services to the citizens it serves. The City has a direct impact on the daily lives of our citizens in providing life-saving, safety, and quality of life services directly to thousands of people on a daily basis. The State of Ohio is formulating its FY 2024-25 Operating Budget and this resolution would be used in support of advocacy efforts with our local state representatives as that budget is developed.”

Prior to the vote, Aspacher expressed his “strong support” for the resolution and said that, once passed, he intends to share it with local representatives in the state assembly.