COLUMBUS–Yesterday, State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D–Columbus), Assistant Senate Democratic Leader, gave testimony on Senate Bill 22, which would increase the amount of state funding for local governments. SB 22 would restore cuts made by the Ohio General Assembly in previous operating budgets.

“The Ohio General Assembly slashed the Local Government Fund by half with the passage of H.B. 153 in 2011,” said Senator Tavares. “The cuts amounted to a $400 million reduction in funds for local communities. While the General Assembly has restored some funds over time, local communities are still expected to have $270 million less in 2017 than they had in 2010. We can no longer continue to allow such a significant shortfall in the local government fund.”

Since the initial cuts to the local government fund, communities across Ohio have struggled to provide necessary services. Local property, sales and income taxes have all been insufficient in addressing the loss of state aid. Many communities have been forced to try to pass levies to fill the void. If a local community is unable to pass a levy, the results could be drastic cuts or the elimination of essential governmental services. Ohio currently has a $2 billion “rainy day” surplus, which could help local governments meet basic community needs. 

“Ohio’s surplus is a result of shifting dollars away from local communities, which rely on those dollars to provide basic services,” stated Senator Tavares. “The cuts to the Local Government Fund were made in a time of economic hardship, but that time has passed. The General Assembly must now commit itself to restoring the financial partnership between state and local governments, so local governments may continue to provide much needed direct services at the level Ohioans expect and deserve.”

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May is Mental Health Month sponsored by Mental Health America. This year’s theme is called “B4Stage4” which focuses on diagnosing and addressing mental illnesses before Stage 4 in which symptoms are more severe and difficult to treat.

Mental illnesses are sometimes crippling disorders that affect the lives of millions of Americans and oftentimes go unannounced because of the stigma associated with them.

Join me in spreading the word about “mental health” throughout the month of May so that your friends, family, and community can get the support and education that they need.

For more information about mental health awareness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness at


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