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Efficiency is a Vital Part of Government Accountability
As a small business owner of nearly 20 years, I understand the importance of condensing spending during a recession and saving in a prosperous economy. Businesses routinely tighten their expenditures to fit a tough budget, and likewise, our state government should make the same sacrifices and maintain a high standard of fiscal responsibility.
However, rather than examining spending and reducing waste, many lawmakers in the Statehouse continue to channel tax dollars into unnecessary, inefficient or ineffective programs while handing the taxpayers the bill. Consequently, families and businesses felt the sting of our state’s high-tax, anti-growth policies this past Tax Day when they were forced to surrender additional funds as a result of House Bill 318’s tax increase.
I believe that rather than relying on the citizens and small businesses of Ohio to sustain our government bloat, we have a responsibility to ensure that the dollars we do spend are successful and streamlined. In an effort to reduce the burden on our already overwhelmed taxpayers, House Republicans proposed the “Future of Ohio” government reform package to make Ohio’s government more cost-effective and accountable. This package of 10 bills would trim waste from the budget while focusing state spending on the programs and services that Ohioans have come to rely on.
One of our caucus’s cost-containment measures is a bill to streamline Ohio’s more than 300 boards and commissions, while eliminating waste within state agencies. House Bill 25 was introduced in February 2009 by Representative John Adams (R-Sidney) to ensure that the taxpayers are not paying the government more than they should. It would consolidate the number of executive cabinet departments from 24 to 11 (compared with the federal government’s 15 departments) based on similar functions and missions. Had this legislation been enacted, it could have saved $1 billion annually and could have filled Ohio’s budget deficit without raising taxes or accruing more debt.
Continuing our caucus’s commitment to a cost-efficient, accountable state government, Representative Barbara Sears (R-Maumee) introduced House Bill 240 to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from Ohio’s Medicaid system. This legislation takes into account the more than $400 million in suggested savings that were found by the Ohio auditor of state in 2006 and would have helped to save $122 million each year. Unfortunately, this vital efficiency measure has remained stalled in committee for months.
These bills would have required state lawmakers to look at internal waste before asking you, the taxpayer, to relinquish more of your hard-earned income. Although the House majority has refused to allow committee votes on these proposals, my Republican colleagues and I continue to fight for solutions that will not only render immediate savings but also fundamentally improve the structure of state government.
Ohio’s continuous growth of spending is unsustainable without also squeezing the taxpayers for every penny they have. With an impending $8 billion budget deficit, lawmakers need to start working today to prepare for what we already know will be an excruciatingly painful budget next year. As state representative of the 67thOhio House District, I will continue to work on your behalf toward a more efficient, effective state government.
Rep. Beck may be reached by phone at (614) 644-6027 or in writing to State Representative Peter Beck, 77 South High Street, 10thfloor, Columbus, OH 43215. He is also available via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.