Ohio must be set for ‘rainy days’

Published 9:36 am Friday, July 12, 2013

Although not everyone will agree with his methods, it is hard to argue with Gov. John Kasich’s results when it comes to strengthening Ohio’s economy and the state’s financial standing.

Kasich’s administration announced earlier this week that the budget stabilization fund — typically called the rainy day fund and similar to any family’s emergency savings account — has reached nearly $1.5 billion, the highest since the fund was created in 1981.

This is the first time in more than a decade that the emergency fund has been at its targeted goal set in the law.

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The governor contends that this is possible through smart fiscal management, changing how the state operates in many areas and a recovering economy.

For the most part, Kasich is correct — although some of the fiscal management involves painful cuts to government and state-funded agencies.

Why is it important for Ohio to have funds set aside? Because no one knows what the future holds or when the economy will plummet again. Having an emergency fund is prudent, from the smallest of households to the largest governments.

Don’t forget, it was just a little more than two years ago that the state’s savings account totaled a whopping 89 cents and the budget was built on a significant amount of one-time federal stimulus money. The Kasich administration essentially faced a more than $7 billion deficit.

The governor’s first two-year budget ended June 30 with a $2 billion surplus — half of which went into the rainy day fund and the other half will be used to jump-start Ohio’s permanent tax cuts contained in the new state budget bill.

Putting politics aside, it is difficult to argue against the governor’s results in this area. Still it would be wise for the governor and Legislature to go back and look at areas that were cut to determine if they are adequately funded.

Our focus on the future should never cause us to lose sight of the present but, overall, Kasich has Ohio well positioned for the worst-case scenario.