Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mid-Biennium Budget Review—Promising More Government Accountability and Efficiency

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy:
Mid-Biennium Budget Review—Promising More
Government Accountability and Efficiency

The Mid-Biennium Budget Review is a current topic of discussion in the Ohio General Assembly. Last year we passed Governor Kasich’s jobs budget, which provided a road map for state spending in 2011 and 2012. In an unprecedented move, Governor Kasich directed the state agencies to assess their spending and adjust their budgets accordingly.

This process is certainly a unique practice in the affairs of state government. This additional step of fiscal conservatism allowed our state government to identify ways to cut more than $91 million from the various budgets for the second year of the biennium. More importantly, the Mid-Biennium Budget Review provides methods to make a number of significant changes regarding outdated policies, ending duplicative or inefficient programs, close tax loopholes, cut bureaucracy, and make the best use of technologies.

This is part of what Governor Kasich calls his Management Efficiency Plan, which he recently proposed. The plan is designed to reduce costs and improve delivery of services for Ohio taxpayers. In testimony before the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee, the Director of the office of Budget and Management, Timothy Keen, said, “It has been the most thorough budget and policy review outside of the preparation of the biennial budget process that I have experienced in my more than 25 years of involvement in state budgeting.” My experience in government tells me this will make a difference and is the type of medicine we need to stop wasteful bureaucratic spending. In our homes we review our budget monthly, it is time government use this type of common sense and responsibility.

Governor Kasich and officials in his cabinet are stressing the importance of developing new strategies to improve the management of Ohio’s government agencies and health systems, focus on Ohio’s education and workforce development efforts, and provide Ohioans access to low-cost, reliable sources of energy and fuel. The main highlights of the Mid-Biennium Review call for an education and workforce development, management efficiency, and more control and savings for local governments.

In our region, strong families have served as an example to generations for hard work and good money management. The least we can do is expect the same from our government. Together our government will work to cut red tape, reduce government cost, and ensure funding is being allocated appropriately. Over the past year and a half, many constituents have pointed out government inefficiencies that have directly led to the savings of Ohio tax dollars. This continued discussion will benefit all Ohioans.

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