Biennial Budget Priorities

Budget Priorities

The Governor’s “blue book” proposed budget combines a number of efforts to meet the budget deficit. These efforts include:
reduction spending for certain programs, revenue enhancements through the increase in or implementation of 120 fees, the use of
one-time cash transfers, and the use of (anticipated) federal stimulus dollars. The Ohio Farm Bureau strongly encourages the
General Assembly to consider:

Restore Funding to OARDC and OSU Extension

2008-2009 investments in OARDC worked:
· Agbioscience sector is Ohio’s largest industry with an economic output of over $90 billion and 1 million jobs
· OARDC’s SEEDS program generates $5 for every dollar of state investment
· Every year, OARDC generates: $156.3 million in Ohio economic output, 1,609 Ohio jobs, 59.2 million in personal income, and $5.5 million in tax revenues.

OARDC is the intersection for superior, diverse, unbiased research. OARDC is the largest university agbioscience research center
in the nation. OARDC generates significant economic impact for the state through technology commercialization, new and improved crops, breeds, and products for Ohio producers, new technology, and enhanced environment and quality of life for all Ohioans.

Proposed budget cuts would fund OARDC and OSU Extension below FY 1999 levels

2008-2009 investments in OSU Extension worked:
· Each 1% increase in agricultural output achieved through OSU Extension programming brings $149 million in income for Ohioans,
and 2,712 jobs.
· Annually OSU Extension generates $159 million in total Ohio Economic output, 1,918 jobs, and $64 million in personal income for Ohio residents, and $4.8 million in annual tax revenues.
· 4-H reaches 11.7 percent of Ohio youth, and 4-H participants have higher school grades and emotional engagement in school.

OSU Extension connects people in all stages of life – from young children to older adults. It delivers targeted, relevant, research-backed information and programming to meet the needs of Ohio. Programs include 4-H, Diabetes Education, local foods initiative access, and business development.

Fund Critical Programs at the Ohio Department of Agriculture

It is a priority to maintain key programs, including livestock permitting, animal disease control and food safety programs, at the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Regulatory efforts for public health and safety, which benefit all Ohioans, should be a budgeted expense supported by General Revenue Funds. The Governor’s proposed budget identifies 24 fee increases at the ODA. Any use of fee-for-service budgeting should ensure that all fees are commensurate with service costs. Reasonable fee increases should result in improved service to the impacted industry.

Funding for Soil and Water Conservation Districts
· We support an adequate source of program funding for soil and water conservation districts and the addition of state-funded incentives to encourage implementation of these practices.
· We support incentive-based plans rather than regulatory means to meet the goals of SWCD.

Rural Broadband Development
Rural broadband development is particularly critical to rural infrastructure needs and is a priority issue for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. The Governor’s plan scales back timelines on broadband development.