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Politics


Batchelder on regional collaboration
Ohio House Speaker says cuts make cooperation a must
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
In The Region:

Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder is hearing from local elected officials about the prospects of collaboration cities in Northeast Ohio.

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Batchelder, from Medina, just began his 35th year in the House, where conservative Republicans hold sway. As one of them, he says Ohio needs to start sending money back to local governments, and in turn, cities need to cooperate on things like fire-fighting and purchasing supplies for teachers.

But, when asked if the next state budget might include grants to encourage such regional collaboration -- as suggested during the Regional Collaboration forum at Cleveland State -- Batchelder minced no words.

One of those services is Medicaid, which Batchelder says is quote -- "eating up the seed corn of the state like mad." His priority would be protecting school funding, but with 17 percent in budget cuts likely to begin in July, the speaker says local mayors can expect a similar reduction in dollars.

Among the big cuts communities are bracing for is a slashing of the local government fund, which is passed on by the state to counties and cities.

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