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YOUNGSTOWN Y2K plans kept state operating post-Sept. 11



Published: Thu, April 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ohio was one of the first states to heed the call to get back to normal, the state treasurer said.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The key to Ohio's finances surviving the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, actually dates back to Y2K.

State Treasurer Joseph T. Deters explained the security concerns surrounding Ohio's money at a luncheon Wednesday at the Debartolo Stadium Club.

The event was part of International Week at Youngstown State University and was sponsored by The Center for International Studies and Programs.

"For the real story, you need to look at the things we had in place before Sept. 11," Deters said.

Safeguards

Deters and his staff worked to put several safeguards in place to make the office Y2K compliant and to keep Ohio's finances running smoothly.

Measures included implementing more modern banking practices, implementing a new accounting system that relied on technology, and significantly reducing the amount of paper needed.

The effort also involved working with other state officials to establish a location separate from the Columbus offices where the government could operate if needed.

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, officials determined there was never any real danger.

"Ohio's money has never been safer than it is right now," Deters said.

In fact, he said, Ohio was one of the first states secure enough to heed President Bush's call to get back to normal, by re-entering the bond market. Ohio was set to borrow money in New York on Sept. 11, but held off and eventually completed the deal two weeks later.

Greatest concern

The greatest concern now, Deters said, is rebuilding consumer confidence and getting the economy back on the rebound.

For the past six months, the collection of Ohio's sales tax has dropped significantly, because people were spending more time at home and not purchasing like normal. Figures released late last month show the situation is improving.

"The tax revenues are not where they were, but they are starting to creep back up," Deters said. "And nationally, the latest reports are pretty optimistic that things will continue to get better."




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