COLUMBUS – State Representative Matt Huffman (R-Lima) today introduced legislation to help Ohio’s counties deal with their economic difficulties.
“All 88 Ohio counties will have another tool in their toolboxes to deal with their local budgetary issues,” Huffman said. “It is my intent to give all local officials the resources they need to help address their daily local financial struggles.”
Huffman’s proposal is two-fold. One provision involves the funding of County Reserve Balance Accounts. These accounts are accounts that taxing authorities, such as boards of county commissioners, may create to accumulate deposits from current revenue to meet future spending needs. They were first authorized in 1995 as “rainy day” funds to stabilize budgets against cyclical changes in revenue and expenditures.
Under current law, the amount of funds that may be deposited each year in any rainy day account is limited to 5 percent of the prior-year revenue credited to the fund in which the account is created. The proposal seeks to change the 5 percent threshold by authorizing counties to increase the amount credited to rainy day reserve balance accounts to one-sixth of the expenditures made in the preceding fiscal year.
“This increase will allow counties to save more money when economic times and revenue sources are good,” Huffman stated. “This change would allow counties to have additional funds on hand when the economy is in a downturn.”
Additionally, the legislation would authorize counties to adopt a direct deposit payroll policy. Many employers across the state pay their employees by direct deposit only. This legislation would allow county governments to have the same option on the table.
“This could save all Ohio counties money if they did not have to process paper paychecks,” Huffman added. “I should note that this is not a mandated requirement for all counties to follow. It is just another option to give local control to our county governments to decide what best works for their current budget situation.”
This legislation will be assigned to an Ohio House committee for further discussion.