MCO could cost county $2 million

By Frank Lewis -

Scioto County is continuing their lobbying efforts at the state level concerning the MCO tax. In 2014, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) declared that, as of July 2017, Ohio’s Medicaid MCO sale tax would no longer be a permissible taxing method used to draw down Medicaid matching funds from the federal government.

“If something doesn’t happen, Scioto County still stands to lose $2 million in sales tax revenue, and that will kick in in the fourth quarter of this year, ” Scioto County Commissioners Chairman Bryan Davis said. “That’s the idea right now — that’s what we’re looking at unless something is done in the Senate.”

Davis said it will mean that a significant portion of the county’s sales tax revenue — 17 percent — will be lost.

“It will be very damaging to us as far as our budget and we will have to make major changes in 2018,” Davis said.

The Scioto County Commissioners believe the state is only concerned with solving their own problems with no thought as to the issues it causes with the counties.

“They’re trying to solve their problems at our expense,” Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree said.

He said the county is taking a proactive approach instead of a reactive one.

“We have written letters. We have made phone calls, emails, texts. You name it, we’ve done it,” Davis said. “We’re not the only county dealing with this, other counties are looking at losing a significant portion as well. We just happen to be the fifth highest amount as far as percentage-wise in the state.”

Davis said there is a concerted effort on behalf of the counties to remedy the situation.

“It did pass out of the House (of Representatives) without many major revisions, which means the state basically took care of their problem,” Davis said. “The counties did not receive any relief, so our association is pushing us to continue our lobbying efforts in the Senate.”

Davis said there are two main issues that have gone over to the Senate from the House. The MCO tax and the Indigent Defense Fund.

Davis said the county is concerned with the state’s reimbursement of the Indigent Defense Fund.

“It passed from the House over to the Senate with a 45 percent rate instead of the 50 (percent) that was asked for,” Davis said. “We’re hoping the Senate will make up the difference and fix it at 50-50 and get us back to where we were last year.”

Davis said efforts are continuing. He said there is still a possibility of adding amendments out of the House.

“We will do what we have to do to stay healthy,” Davis said.

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.