(The Center Square) — Ohio continues to beat the national average when it comes to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic despite August numbers that lagged behind the previous three months.
That news, which came when Ohio Office of Budget and Management released its September tax revenues, should be good news for taxpayers, businesses and families, according to The Buckeye Institute.
“As policymakers begin to consider Ohio’s next biennial budget, this report offers some good news for the Buckeye State, its taxpayers, businesses and families,” Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute, said. “For the third straight month, the money the state collects in taxes and fees outpaced estimates, placing Ohio’s anticipated revenue at more than $260 million about estimates.”
The national Moody’s Analytics “back-to-normal” index that tracks recovery puts its national recovery level at 81.2, 2.1 points higher in September than August. Ohio increased 1.4 points in September to 87, ranking it 10th overall among all states.
The report showed the state’s housing market continue at a strong pace with sales of existing homes rising 4.2 percent compared to August of last year. Also, the average home price was at $222,797, more than 12 percent higher than a year ago.
The state’s unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in August.
The report, according to Hederman, should give Ohio lawmakers reason to be optimistic and allow them to use the state’s rainy day fund to cover needs, rather than money from the federal government.
“Although targeted aid to state governments may be necessary, these figures should give Ohio lawmakers some cautious optimism about the state’s budget outlook and reinforce the fact that bailouts from DC would needlessly send too much money to states,” Hederman said. “Instead of relying on a taxpayer-funded bailout from the nation’s capital, Ohio policymakers should make strategic use of the rainy day fund and vigilantly cut Ohio’s bloated budget.”
At his twice-weekly COVID-19 news conference Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the state has held back from using the $2.7 billion rainy day fund, instead counting on hiring freezes and other government cuts to offset economic shortfalls.
He did say, however, the state plans to use part of the fund over the next couple of years.
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.