By Maggie Thurber | Special to Ohio Watchdog
COLUMBUS — A recent deposit of $235.1 million has nearly doubled Ohio’s Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the rainy day fund.
The balance is now $482 million up from 89 cents when Gov. John Kasich first took office.
“In 18 months, Ohio went from an $8 billion shortfall and literally pennies in its savings account to a balanced budget and almost half a billion dollars saved up for a rainy day,” Kasich said.
Ohio finished fiscal 2012 — the first full fiscal year of his governorship — in strong fiscal health, with a balanced budget, he said. Ohio’s $26.4 billion fiscal 2012 General Revenue Fund operating budget closed on June 30. Tax receipts ended the fiscal year $399 million ahead of projections developed in the spring of 2011, according to the Office of Budget and Management.
Kasich attributed the recent economic growth to actions taken under his term as governor.
“Ohio cut taxes and restored its fiscal health and job creators are taking notice. Unemployment has fallen from 9 (percent) to 7.3 percent, more than 94,000 jobs have been created and we’re fourth in the nation in job creation,” he said. “We’re headed in the right direction, but we’ve got to keep going. Too many Ohioans are still out of work. If we want to keep making progress, we’ve got to resist calls to slip back into the old Statehouse ways of spending more than we should and kicking problems down the road. It won’t happen on my watch, and with the continued strong partnership of the General Assembly — and the continued hard work of the people of Ohio — we’ll keep our state coming back.”
Despite the deposit into the BSF, Kasich warned that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related cost increases for Medicaid, as well as projections for anemic growth in the economy, were causes for fiscal prudence.
“We are not going back to yesterday. We are not going to spend this money,” he said. “We’ve had a long period of time of tax and spend, and we’re not going to do it.”
Final accounting totals will be available July 10 in the Office of Budget and Management’s Monthly Financial Report at www.obm.ohio.gov.