Toledo, OH – The Lucas County Commissioners, elected officials from throughout Lucas County, and representatives from broad range of community groups gathered to implore the Ohio House and Senate delegation to include funding in the budget bill to ensure all counties in Ohio are made whole by the loss of the Medicaid Managed Care sales tax.
In 2016, the Medicaid Managed Care (MCO) sales tax represented $209 million, or 8.2 percent, of all county and transit authority sales tax collections. Lucas County sales tax revenue makes up 70% of the General Fund Revenue. According to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, Lucas County has the potential to lose $11 million in sales tax revenue if a permanent, full replacement solution is not found by our legislators.
Lucas County has been delegated a wide variety of critical services to perform on behalf of the State of Ohio. Lucas County has experienced a growing reliance on sales tax revenue as a result of the loss of local government funding from the State of Ohio and policy decisions regarding the delivery of services performed by Lucas County.
Lucas County’s economy, historically associated with the glass and automotive industries, has become increasingly diversified and remains the home of three of the nation’s largest glass companies (Owens Corning, Libbey Glass, and Pilkington North America), and a fourth, Owens-Illinois, is located within Metro Toledo. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), General Motors Corporation, and Dana Holding Corporation also continue to be major private sector employers in the County. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Site Selection Magazine recognized the State of Ohio generally and more specifically the Toledo Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) among the nation’s most robust environments for economic development. The Toledo MSA was honored as a top 10 midsize metro area in the United States, with 32 active economic development projects.
The ability of Lucas County government to fulfill its obligations is integral to the economic health of the entire region. The gap in revenue that will occur--should the managed care tax funds not be replaced-will have an adverse impact on the health of not only Lucas County, but every county in the state.
While counties face the prospect of losing managed care sales tax revenues, receipts in other areas are suffering as well. During the first quarter of 2017, area consumer spending has been flat and new car sales are down 6.25% from the same period last year. If the shortfalls resulting from the elimination of MCO to our sales tax revenue are not replaced, Lucas County will not be able to make the investments that will continue to bolster the renaissance our community is currently enjoying.
Lucas County simply cannot afford further reductions to our revenues at this crucial time. By investing in our workforce, technology, and infrastructure, Lucas County can continue to prosper and grow. If these cuts are not replaced by new sources of revenue, all of the progress we have made will be jeopardized.
“Over a number of years, Lucas County has continually cut expenditures from our general fund, while at the same time making important investments in sustainability efforts to clean Lake Erie and to ensure our workforce is ready to compete on the world stage,” said Commissioner Tina Wozniak. “This state budget is reckless and out of touch. We need our representatives to understand the important work being done here locally and to help us continue to invest in our community. We have continually been good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollar while investing in our people and economy. It’s time for our state government to do the same,” concluded Commissioner Wozniak.
“The State of Ohio wants to pass close to a $1 billion state budgetary shortfall on to local jurisdictions - $11 million in the case of Lucas County. Locally, we’ve improved community safety, brought good-paying jobs to the region, made infrastructure improvements, invested in environmental sustainability, and education and quality of life initiatives,” said Commissioner Carol Contrada. “This regressive state budget will halt progress in its tracks and will mean a reduction in basic services to real people. The buck should stop in the Ohio statehouse, and it’s time to call our state elected officials to account. We implore the legislature to restore the cuts to local governments. We’ve done our job locally. Now, it’s time for the State. Do your job for the citizens of Ohio,” concluded Commissioner Contrada.
“Our focus on economic development is our number one job in Lucas County. This budget will make it impossible for Lucas County to compete,” said Commissioner Pete Gerken. “Over the last number of years, Lucas County has been a leader in public-private partnerships, such as the Overland Industrial Park re-development project. Dana and Detroit Manufacturing Systems has worked hand in hand with county government to bring hundreds on new living wage job opportunities. Additionally our newest economic driver in downtown Toledo, Hensville, would not be possible in the current budget proposal. Our state government must understand that you cannot grow without investment,” concluded Commissioner Gerken.