GREENVILLE — Gene Krebs (R-Preble County) is seeking the Republican Party nomination for the fifth Ohio State Senate seat, replacing State Senator Bill Beagle.
He will file with the Montgomery County Board of Elections, to be on the ballot for the 2018 election cycle. Krebs is also seeking to help rural counties, he said.
“Too many Ohioans are prisoners of geography,” he said. “Where they live, too often determines the amount and quality of services they receive, the rate of taxes they pay and the economic opportunities and amenities available to them. This is increasingly the case in Ohio’s hundreds of small towns and rural counties around them, where health and social problems have come to exceed that of our larger cities.”
Krebs said, he relies, in part, on data from The Center for Community Solutions’ research study by its former executive director John Begala. The Center for Community Solutions’ history is an in-depth look at the history of health and social services in Greater Cleveland, according to its website. In Begala’s November 2016 study “Big City Problems in Ohio’s Small Towns”, some of the social and health indicators include the following about small rural towns: more than 16 percent of working age adults are disabled, a higher portion than in Ohio’s big cities; 15 percent of people 25-years-old and older have college degrees, compared to about 25 percent in big cities and the state; 34 percent of children live in poverty, compared to 23 percent statewide; almost 75 percent of primary and secondary school students participate in the federal school lunch program, which covers both below and near poverty students from families with incomes up to 185 percent of the poverty level, which exceeds the statewide rate by more than 25 percent; and teenage birth rates in small rural towns are 31 births per thousand for 15 to 19-year-olds, nearly double the statewide rate.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, between 1991 and 2010, teen births have cost Ohio taxpayers $9.8 billion. Factors that contribute to total costs include: public health care (Medicaid/CHIP), increased risk of participation in child welfare; and for children who have reached adolescence or young adulthood; increased rates of incarceration; and lost tax revenue due to decreased earnings and spending.
“We need to start paying attention to the rural areas,” Krebs said. “Let’s help those rural communities help themselves, with first identifying those counties that are not generating a sufficient amount of tax revenue from economic development activities, and then giving them targeted state funding, so they can deal with the drug problem, increase their economic base and keep their lights on doors open and sheriff cruisers patrolling.”
Counties face a dilemma, according to Krebs.
“In a typical Ohio county, about 40 percent of their revenue is derived from the local piggyback sales tax and many of those counties have enacted the maximum 1.5 percent permitted under state law,” he said. “However, when the citizens of that county go and shop and dine out in another county, that sales tax revenue stays there.”
Krebs has outlined a proposal to create an equalization fund for counties, that sets aside a pool of state money to bring to these counties up to an average or a value of 1.00.
“If everyone who lives in that county shopped in that county, and no one from the outside came into shop, it would receive a value of 1.00 or 100 percent of the expected revenue,” Krebs said. “If their citizens shop elsewhere, the number goes down. If the county is fortunate enough to have an outlet mall built, the number goes up.”
The program is structured so that all counties are eligible, he said. The additional money can only be used for three purposes: to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic, and fund the programs to deal with this in the court, criminal justice, human services and mental health systems; economic development programs that increase sales tax revenues and workforce development in the county and for general county purposes. No more than half of the funds can be used for any one of the three purposes. Krebs’ proposal goes into great detail.
For more information, visit http://www.genekrebs.com/pdf/EqualizationfundJanuary2018.pdf
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