Ohio smart to plan for ‘rainy day’

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Although Ohio’s budget is now in much better shape than it was a year and a half ago, it appears that many lawmakers still fail to grasp the fiscal practices that created an $8 billion deficit.

Gov. John Kasich has caught flak from a number of lawmakers who think that the state government should immediately start spending the $482 million it ended the fiscal year with. Instead Kasich has opted to put those dollars into the state’s “rainy day fund” — what amounts to a savings account in case of emergency — and growing that fund from less than one dollar when he took office.

Although $482 million may sound like a lot of money, it isn’t when it comes to operating the state government and can be spent very quickly.

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It is understandable that school districts and other government agencies that faced significant cuts in recent years would like to have some of that funding restored. But the reality is that relying on what could amount to one-time funds is what got the state in trouble to start with.

There are no assurances that Ohio’s economy will continue to rebound so this surplus could be nothing more than “fool’s gold” as expenses continue to increase.

Kasich has been far from perfect in the first year and a half of his term as governor. The man has made many mistakes and uses an approach that can certainly be questioned.

However, being prudent with Ohio’s money and insisting that government agencies continue to live within their means is one area the governor is certainly on target.