Elizabeth Morehead

Re-building state and county relationships

by Elizabeth Morehead on October 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm

ZANESVILLE, Ohio – It’s important for state and local governments to work together and the Legislative Council of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio John Leutz is talking with local Commissioners about issues straining the relationship between state and local governments.

One issue they discussed was the loss of Medicaid managed care organization sales tax. He said the state was able to tax Medicaid during the Medicare expansion but that the federal government then decided it couldn’t be taxed.

“Then we found out the federal government decided that wasn’t something they wanted to do and they put the state on notice that as of your next budget we will not allow you to tax these services, so the state had to change the rules of the game,” said Leutz. He said that while the state found ways to replace the lost revenue from the taxes, they did little to help local governments replace it at the county level.

Another issue Leutz discussed with the commissioners was the cost of Indigent Defense. He said the state originally paid reimbursement costs for attorneys the county provided to those who could not afford them. He said over the years, the reimbursement from the state has become less and less.

“We basically now do not manage or administer the program, it’s done through other avenues other than the board of commissioners, but we write the check for it. So we basically are the ATM,” said Leutz.

Leutz said they would like the state to resume full responsibility for the indigent defense. He said creating a better relationship between local and state governments, especially when it comes to funding, is important.