On January 30th, Gov. Kasich released his budget proposal for FY18-19, including more than 850 pages of recommendations, narratives and tables in the budget “Blue Book.” Budget hearings at the Statehouse will begin today with Office of Budget and Management Director Tim Keen testifying before the House Finance Committee.
Important aspects of the budget for public libraries include:
Public Library Fund: Maintains the permanent law provision calculating the PLF at 1.66% of the GRF; allows the temporary PLF calculation at 1.7% of the GRF to expire on June 30.
Tax Reform: Proposes a 17% income tax cut for Ohioans and plans to pay for the proposal with tax increases on alcohol, tobacco products and gas drilling. He also proposes a half-percent increase in the state sales tax, from 5.75 percent to 6.25 percent, and extends it to additional services.
Workforce Development: Proposes leveraging public libraries more and positioning them as “continuous learning centers.” Gov. Kasich and Ryan Burgess, the director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, both spoke very highly of Ohio’s public libraries during the budget news conference. Director Burgess talked about Ohio’s 8.7 million library cardholders and the fact that Ohio has the highest usage rate per capita in the nation.
Gov. Kasich specifically mentioned the use of computers in public libraries and the importance of access and connectivity for Ohioans. The College and Careers briefing document also references public libraries. The conversations on how to leverage public libraries more to help adult learners access online programs will continue.
The OLC is currently reviewing the budget documents with our consultants at Fleeter & Associates and will provide you with more information once it is available. Visit the OLC’s Protect the PLF website at libraryfunding.olc.org for updates and advocacy tools.