Local Funding

STATE AND federal funding cuts are making it tough sledding for local communities. Money used for vital operations has been greatly reduced over the years.

State Sen. Lou Gentile is hoping to reverse that trend. We support Gentile’s efforts and hope he is successful in his undertaking.

The Steubenville Democrat is looking to add an amendment to the state budget. It is one that we believe makes sense as it would bring many more dollars back to Eastern Ohio.

Gentile’s plan looks to increase local government funds by 2.52 percent. This amendment would make $361 million available to communities across Ohio over the next two years.

Should his proposal come to fruition it would prove a great boon in the wake of the previous state budget. That spending plan cut $500 million from Ohio’s Local Government Fund.

Removing such a massive amount of money from the state budget obviously has adverse effects. Those effects trickled down to the local level, impacting all types of services, such as street lighting, recreation and safety.

Gentile’s amendment would help remedy the situation. It will pump $177 million in fiscal year 2014 and $184 million in fiscal year 2015.

Eastern Ohio villages, cities and townships have enacted painful reductions due to LGF cuts, some of which have compromised safety. Police and firefighting protection should be a high priority by the state, not picked apart for a lack of money.

The state has amassed a rainy day fund of nearly $2 billion. Why should lawmakers lay dormant when it can be utilized to help millions of Ohioans?

Gentile’s amendment would spawn a better way of life in Eastern Ohio. For that reason alone, it has our vote of approval.