Kasich vetos MCO tax amendment, county responds


By Nikki Blankenship - nblankenship@aimmediamidwest.com



Gov. John Kasich vetoed the budget bill provision that would replace funding lost as a result of the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) sales tax elimination, and Scioto County Commissioner was quick to respond, urging to continued to hope.

“Kasich vetoed the MCO Tax amendment a little before midnight. The battle continues into next week. Veto Override Showdown Thursday. Time to start calling our reps and Senators again. I will circle back and we will fight together next week!!,” Davis stated in brief post on social media, just minutes after the Governor’s decision.

If the Governor’s veto stands, it could mean up to $2.1 million in revenue cuts for the County and a total of more than $200 million dollars in cuts to counties and transit authorities across the state.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio on Friday submitted a letter to Kasich asking him to retain in the biennial budget bill provision. Additionally, counties testified throughout the budget process about the difficult decisions that face communities if this annual revenue to counties and transit authorities is lost and the budget realities they have been facing.

For Scioto County, the cut could mean shutting down many community programs.

Earlier this month, Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree explained, “That’s the sad part, is that a lot of people who are funded through county governments statewide, a lot of them are not mandated expenditures. They’re just basically free gratis from the county budget, like Soil and Water, 4-H and a lot of those programs that are very important to people within the county. Those are probably, most likely the most vulnerable.”

“Even if we cut out all the entities that are not mandated, it does not come close to $2.1 million,” Davis added.”

Scioto County has only been one voice among many urging the Governor to understand the full impact of his decision. The CCAO as a whole has also dedicated numerous hours fighting for a solution.

“Now is not the time to leave counties behind. In the absence of a revenue replacement mechanism, counties will have to reduce or eliminate funding for programs that invest in economic growth and exacerbate the growing pressure on important systems like criminal justice, public safety, and child protection. The demand on these services is only growing in the wake of the opiate epidemic,” said CCAO Executive Director Suzanne Dulaney.

The budget amendment sought to require the state to seek federal approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reset the franchise fee on health insuring corporations (HICs) to raise up to an additional $207 million per year, a portion of which may be used to help address Medicaid MCO reimbursement. If federal approval is granted, the state would annually distribute payments beginning soon after July 2018 to counties and transit authorities for six years. The amendment also retains the original transition aid contained in the executive budget proposal that makes one-time payments to counties and transit authorities in FY 2018 based on counties’ reliance, as determined by the administration’s formula.

“We respect the importance of Ohio’s Medicaid program, and the solution put forth is specifically tailored to protect the State of Ohio from adverse impacts to its existing waiver. We appreciate that the General Assembly worked diligently with us to find a solution for counties. We are hopeful that the strong support expressed by the General Assembly means that there will yet be good news for county government,” she concluded.

All are remaining hopeful, and all are remaining diligent to the cause.

By Nikki Blankenship

nblankenship@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.