(The Center Square) – Ohio’s savings account is now the largest in history after it transferred more than $700 million into the rainy day fund, but some think it may be time to return some of it to taxpayers.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced the $727 million transfer by the Office of Budget and Management, saying the record fund is proof the administration’s policies are working.
“We are delivering on our promises to Ohioans with conservative management and sound budgeting," DeWine said. "Businesses and investors can be assured that Ohio’s finances are in order, and we are planning for the long term. Filling up our rainy day fund is another way that we are showing strong results for our citizens.”
The fund is a reserve balance set aside during good economic times to have money available for state programs and departments during downturns. State law caps the fund at 8.5% of general fund revenues. The $3.5 billion currently in the rainy day fund is the maximum allowed by law.
"The placement of this money in the budget stabilization fund is sound fiscal policy," Senate President Matt Huffman said. "The release of several trillion dollars into the economy in the last two years will ultimately result in inflation. The state of Ohio must be prepared for the inevitable consequences. Raising taxes will not be the solution. Having this fund will allow the state to continue needed services."
Greg Lawson, a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, believes the state savings account is positive but also thinks the high balance creates an opportunity for tax relief.
“The bottom line is it is a good thing in general? Now that we are at that large margin, we should really look at additional revenues and looking at things like tax cuts and tax reforms.” Lawson said. “People should get some money back in their pockets if we have this much in the fund.”