This week, Governor John Kasich signed many bills into law aimed at improving the quality of life for all Ohioans. Two pieces of legislation in particular, however, achieve one of the primary goals of the Ohio House—to make government smaller and more efficient. I was proud to support and stand behind those measures, and I’m glad the Governor gave them his stamp of approval.
The first of these bills is House Bill 5, sponsored by Representatives Kyle Koehler and Stephanie Kunze, which gives state agencies and local governments the ability to share resources, thus improving efficiency. In order to do so, the public entities must request that the Auditor of State conduct a feasibility study between two or more offices to determine if they can combine resources and if it will save taxpayer dollars.
House Bill 5 is common-sense legislation that accomplishes one of my main goals as Speaker—to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. With this new law, local governments and state agencies can save money by collaborating with each other and sharing resources, including heavy equipment like tractors and bulldozers. Every dollar saved through this initiative is more money put back into Ohioans’ pockets.
The Governor also signed Senate Bill 293, merging the Division of Parks and Recreation and the Division of Watercraft within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). With this merger, the agency will be able to combine office space and assets, saving state funds spent on rent, utility bills, and information technology support.
This is yet another example of reasonable and responsible law-making, and I have been privileged to be a part of such an initiative. ODNR expects to save $1.3 million during the first year of transition into this merger, a significant portion of state funding that can be used in other ways to better provide for the citizens of our state.
At the end of the day, greater efficiency and more accountable spending in your state government benefits the more than 11 million people that your public officials have been elected to represent. It is our duty to serve our constituents’ needs in a manner that both improves their quality of life and utilizes tax money responsibly, and I believe that both of these bills achieve that goal.