COLUMBUS — Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper released the following statement Friday after Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement of his first biennial budget proposal:
“Over the past eight years, the state has used local communities and schools as a piggy bank to give dollars away to the most well off in Ohio, and to spend on state priorities. In the meantime, local communities across Ohio have had to slash vital services and lay off workers because of the state raids of their funding, and school districts have had to raise new levies and cut staff and programs, leading to a steep decline in the overall ranking of Ohio’s schools.
“If you’re not reversing this destruction to public school funds and local communities, you’re not investing in the future — you’re rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship. But that’s exactly what Mike DeWine’s budget is doing. It does little to nothing to restore these devastating cuts.
“Just as bad, DeWine’s administration is using fuzzy math to tout new dollars for services for low-income districts, and we’re standing still when it comes to putting dollars into classrooms across the state to ensure our kids are getting a high-quality education, no matter what zip code they live in. It also diverts more dollars from the Lottery fund toward charter schools.
“The Local Government Fund amount under DeWine continues to treat local counties, cities, towns and villages as piggy banks for state spending. His administration is touting a minuscule restoration of funds diverted in the last budget, but there are no substantive changes for local communities that have been walloped by more than $1 billion in cuts made since 2011.”