Budget cuts proposed last year by Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) forced cities and towns across Ohio to layoff public safety officials and close fire stations. This year, cuts in Kasich’s budget are again causing ripple effects in the area of public safety — this time by forcing one town near Cincinnati to choose between raising taxes or privatizing its fire and EMS services.
Sycamore Township lost 25 percent of its revenue, including half of its fire and EMS budget, thanks to Kasich’s budget, forcing it to choose to either levy a new tax on local residents or privatize its public safety services, Plunderbund reports:
According to a video released by Township Trustee Tom Weidman at the beginning of the process, the Township’s financial problems can be tied directly to Kasich’s budget. Local officials were shocked and amazed when Kasich and the legislature “abruptly ended” the “important source of income” from the Local Government Fund, the Tangible Personal Property Tax and the Estate Tax.
According to Plunderbund, the 0.8 percent tax the city needed to cover the lost revenue would have been one of the largest in recent memory for Ohio townships. Sycamore’s board, however, decided not to put the tax to a vote, opting instead for privatization, though Weidman claims the sell-off isn’t restricted to private companies. Still, the decision was met with backlash by local residents. “This fire department has saved my father’s life twice,” one local resident told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “You can’t put a price on a person’s life.”
And while towns like Sycamore are forced to sell off public safety, Kasich’s latest economic plan provides a break for the richest Ohioans. Under his proposed income tax cuts, the state’s top one percent would receive a quarter of the benefits. The middle class, meanwhile, wouldn’t receive enough to pay for a tank of gas.