STATE CUTS County fears loss of funds for local government

Mahoning political subdivisions get about $20 million a year from the state.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County commissioners and Struthers officials have urged the county's other political subdivisions to pass resolutions urging Gov. Bob Taft and the state General Assembly to not reduce the amount of state funds given to local governments.
This would include money distributed as local government funds, local government assistance funds and the local library government support funds. All are generated by state taxes and are given to Ohio's 88 counties.
Nearly $20 million is returned to Mahoning County from the state on an annual basis. The money fulfills the state's obligation to support government activities, the commissioners said earlier this week.
Facing deficits
There continues to be major discussion at the state level to take away this funding from the political subdivisions and keep it for state lawmakers to solve the state's own budget problems. Estimates show the state budget faces more than $5 billion in deficits for the next biennium.
Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti said the loss of LGF money to the county and its political subdivisions "will be devastating."
For example, the county would lose nearly $6 million and Struthers more than $220,000.
The county loss would be particularly troublesome as the commissioners already have lost $13 million to $14 million when a half-percent sales tax expired in December 2004.
Commissioners will have about $34 million to $35 million to appropriate this year, if the LGF funds are not lost.
Commissioners said state lawmakers need to hear from from city councils, trustees and others about the importance of keeping the LGF money coming back to the county.

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