April 19, 2017
With the governor having now introduced the 2018-2019 state operating budget, lawmakers, elected officials, lobbyists and advocates are now meeting around Capitol Square in hopes of securing funding for their various projects and causes.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is taking a different approach by requesting no money at all.
Secretary Husted is seeking a 100 percent cut in tax dollars used to support his office. This move was made possible thanks to Secretary Husted’s conservative financial management over the past six years. During that period, Husted has reduced spending in his office by 16 percent, even as overall state spending increased by 17 percent.
“It’s one thing to talk about reducing the size and cost of government, it’s another thing to actually do it,” Secretary Husted said.
If approved, Husted’s plan will save Ohio taxpayers $4.76 million – funding that can be used to support more essential government services like education, economic development and job creation instead of unnecessary bureaucracy.
This budget cut is possible because of a number of steps Secretary Husted has taken to improve customer service while cutting costs.
In 2013, he launched Ohio Business Central, a service that harnesses technology to allow entrepreneurs to file forms online. This initiative has led to a dramatic reduction in processing times for paperwork – from an average of four days when Secretary Husted took office in 2010, to now less than four hours in most cases.
In 2016, Secretary Husted launched a partnership with the Cleveland Sight Center in Northeast Ohio. Since beginning the partnership, average wait times have gone from more than 10 minutes to less than a minute, with a 95.7 percent customer satisfaction rate.
Secretary Husted has also worked hard to reduce the size of his staff from roughly 190 employees in 2011 to now fewer than 130 – a 32 percent cut. This reduction has also resulted in payroll costs reaching the lowest level in nine years.
"We are delivering better services at lower prices, cutting unnecessary bureaucracy and have now eliminated the need for taxpayer funding” Secretary Husted said. “As a result, those savings can now be used to support tax cuts, education and workforce development.”
In 2015, the Secretary asked the state legislature to pass along the office’s savings to Ohio entrepreneurs by reducing the fees associated with starting and maintaining a business in the state from $125 to $99, a 21 percent cut. This move has already saved Ohio businesses over $3.3 million, more than was initially predicted, and made Ohio the least costly state in the region to start and maintain a business.
During a time when state tax revenues are coming up short, it is important that everyone do their part. With Secretary Husted’s innovations and cost-saving measures and ongoing revenue created by a record-number of new business startups, the Secretary of State’s office will be able to run efficiently without any taxpayer dollars for the next two years.