Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Governor vetoes Worthington's TPP reimbursement.

Worthington residents awoke this morning to the news that Governor Kasich has line item vetoed the TPP reimbursements that the Ohio House, Ohio Senate and Conference Committee had all agreed to. In his veto message, the Governor believes that Worthington has the "capacity" to raise those funds locally and therefore, that money should go to poorer districts.

I have a few thoughts to share. First, the money isn't actually going to poorer districts, it's staying in the state treasury unless appropriated somewhere else.

Second, I've been saying for years that Worthington (Dublin, Hilliard, Olentangy) should not believe that higher state taxes necessarily leads to more aid for the school district. A local levy is the only surefire way to know that your tax dollars are going to your school district. Statewide taxes are always going to be redistributed away from suburban school districts like Worthington.

Third, it's now clear that the phaseout on Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursements will continue as scheduled until Worthington's entire 10 million dollar annual allocation is eliminated. This has already been accounted for in our forecasting models so it doesn't change the levy timeline, but that doesn't make it any less disappointing. The message from the Kasich administration is that more affluent districts are on their own.

The statewide education groups that we hang out with are going to check into the possibility of a legislative override to the veto. Under Ohio law, it takes 60% of the legislature to override the veto. Since 60% of the legislature voted for these funds in the first place, you would think an override would be easy, but I'm pretty sure that Speaker Rosenberger and President Faber would never embarrass the Governor by allowing the vote.

I can't put a dollar figure yet on how much the veto costs us, but as we already accounted for it in the forecast, it won't affect operations or any current budget.

Finally, I'd be remiss to once again not thank State Rep Mike Duffey for ensuring the TPP hold harmless made it into the House version of the budget. The Governor's veto extends to the second year of the biennium, so in "Glass Half Full" mode, it can be correctly stated that Rep. Duffey did manage to secure a few million dollars for us in 2016 that we weren't counting on, and as with all TPP replacement funds, that money will go into the district's contingency fund which is used to delay the next levy.