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City Manager Optimistic About Proposed State Budget's Impact on Mentor

Kenneth Filipiak said Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget could be good for the city's small businesses and retail base

The last time Ohio Gov. John Kasich proposed a 2-year budget, Mentor City Manager Kenneth Filipiak was not pleased with the results.

The resulting budget cost the city about $3 million in funding over two years -- more than half that loss came from halving the local government fund.

However, Filipiak is much more optimistic about Kasich's recent 2-year budget proposal and its potential affects on Mentor.

While the suggested budget does not restore the local government fund to previous levels, it doesn't include any more cuts.

"It might even go up by two or three percent," Filipiak said. "That, at least, stops the bleeding."

Filipiak was also keen on the governor's plan to use money from the Ohio Turnpike to improve infrastructure.

Kasich wrote in his Budget Highlights (which is attached to this story as a PDF):

This budget facilitates our plan to leverage the value of the Ohio Turnpike and inject up to $3 billion to strengthen Ohio’s transportation network, one of our most important economic-development assets.

The vast majority of additional highway dollars raised by the sale of the new Turnpike bonds will go directly to benefit the Turnpike itself and accelerate other highway projects in Northern Ohio.

Filipiak said additional money for roads and infrastructure would be welcome because "every community has unfinished projects they'd like to see go forward."

Kasich's proposed budget would decrease income taxes for up to 50 percent for many small businesses and 20 percent for individuals over the next two years.

Additionally, the governor recommended decreasing the state sales tax by half of a percent, though increasing the number of services -- like attorneys and CPAs -- who would have to charge a sales tax.

Mentor has both a large retail base and many small businesses. Filipiak said, overall, these changes would benefit them, though he acknowledged it might hurt some of the professional services that would have to charge a sales tax if the budget were adopted.

Filipiak said specifically the reduction in sales tax would help local businesses compete with online retailers that don't have to charge a sales tax.

"I think people -- when everything else is even -- want to buy local," he said.

The governor's proposed budget would also increase school funding while lessening state mandates.

"I give (Kasich) credit for a fairly bold proposal," Filipiak said.

The governor's budget highlights report is attached to this story as a PDF. It can be downloaded here.

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