Members of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee spent the better part of a March 20 hearing from the administration about the various proposals included in HB487 — the Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) bill.
Director Keen said much of the MBR results from a dialogue within the administration when cabinet directors were asked to consider ways to increase savings, with a focus on:
- Removing statutory barriers that impede agencies, local governments and school districts from operating more efficiently and sharing services.
- Eliminating outdated requirements that impose unnecessary burdens on agencies, local governments, and schools.
- Streamlining programs and service delivery.
- Making accounting changes to improve tracking.
- Making technical corrections.
Director Keen said the MBR proposes 232 revisions to line items in 32 agencies, mostly as a result of spending cuts.
“This was not intended as an across-the-board budget cut exercise, but rather to review the circumstances of individual state agencies,” he said. Agency reductions total $113.5 million, including $34.7 million in state share.
The director said several of the proposed changes would consolidate programs, improve agency communications, expedite the tax appeals process, and increase local governments’ ability to share services.
“Major programmatic and operational changes,” Keen said “include among others:
– Merging of the state architect’s office with the Ohio School Facilities Commission. He explained to the committee later that the impetus for this was the lack of an ongoing funding source for the state architect’s office.