According to Ohio Governor John Kaisch, “economic competitiveness” will be the focus for Ohio’s upcoming fiscal years, in which the state will be placing heavy emphasis on job creation. Governor Kaisch outlined several goals expected to drive this transformation within the state which includes:
- Improving Education for All Children: Creating a “world-class” education system that increases achievement and provides high-quality opportunities for all students.
- Helping More Students Get Degrees: Increasing the current percentage (25%) of Ohioans with a bachelor’s degree, so they are able to get on an expedited course to long-term success and stability.
- Cutting and Reforming Taxes: Cutting small business taxes in half for the first $750,000 in net income, income taxes by 20 percent and state sales tax rate from 5.5 percent to 5.0 percent to help low-income Ohioans who pay no income taxes.
- Making Medicaid Work Better: Helping more low-income and working Ohioans have access to health care through Medicaid. This is expected to improve the health of vulnerable Ohioans, and helps free up local funds for enhanced mental health and addiction services.
- Meeting Ohio’s Crucial Transportation Needs: Investing O$3 billion into the Ohio Turnpike in order to strengthen the transportation network. Additional highway dollars raised by the sale of the new Turnpike bonds will help accelerate other highway projects in Northern Ohio.
- Creating a Smarter, More Efficient State Government: Making sure state agencies are providing sustainable value to Ohioans, a high level of care for the state’s most vulnerable citizens and a jobs-friendly environment for future prosperity.
Health care seems to be taking the lead as far as budget share goes for both FY 2014 and 2015 (See Figure 1). The appropriation for the upcoming fiscal years has increased tremendously, due to a national shift in focus on health-related technologies. If approved, the Ohio Department of Health could receive nearly $650 million in both FY 2014 and 2015. This does not include all the other major health-related agencies within the state such as the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Aging, and the Department of Medicaid. When these entities are included, health care in Ohio could be receiving approximately $26 billion in FY 2014 and $28 billion in FY 2015. As mentioned earlier, one of Ohio’s goals for the upcoming years is improving Medicaid. Funding will be used to tackle issues such as fraud, waste and abuse in order to enhance Medicaid’s efficiency. Payment processes are also expected to be improved, where Ohio will reward hospitals based on quality as oppose to volume. Medicaid is the largest program in the state budget and has a recommended General Revenue Fund (GRF) of $15.1 billion for FY 2014; $16.8 billion FY 2015.
Part of the plan in Ohio for Medicaid and Health care will be to streamline health and human services (HHS) program. This includes modernizing eligibility determination systems and improving state agency operations. The Ohio Department of Administrative Services is in the process of securing services for ongoing Organization Change Management Services to support the rollout and production operations of the Integrated Eligibility and HHS Business Intelligence (BI) System. The development and implementation of the integrated Eligibility and HHS BI System is a multi-phase, multi-year project. Accenture was awarded the contract to build the new system back in February 2013. The contract is worth over $300 million, and will expire in October 2018.
For more information on Ohio’s FY 2014-2015 budget, download an extended version of this article here.
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