COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Mayors Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of mayors in Ohio’s largest cities, outlined today five specific policy recommendations for Ohio’s gubernatorial candidates. The mayors’ priorities emphasize the economic impact cities have on the statewide economy and the importance of state and local partnership.
“A solid working relationship with Ohio’s next governor is crucial to the success of our cities and statewide economy,” said Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik. “If we are going to make Ohio’s economy strong, we have to find common ground and work together to get things done. We’re hopeful that we will have the opportunity to do that with whomever becomes Ohio’s next governor.”
The Mayors’ Recommendations Report proposes: 1) convening state and local leaders to develop a home rule compact, 2) establishing a new fund to reinvest in Ohio’s communities, 3) creating an office of drug policy to help combat the opioid crisis, 4) forming a transportation taskforce to address infrastructure funding needs, and 5) changing the way the State approaches school districts in academic distress.
“Cities are the economic engines of our state,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “The mayors’ recommendations support Ohio’s cities and small towns, and bring together state and local leaders to help address some of our biggest challenges.”
One of the recommendations offers a new approach to addressing state funding cuts by creating a new $100 million “Community Reinvestment Fund.” Established as a competitive grant program for cities and other local governments, the fund would support communities for the purposes of economic development, emergency relief and public safety, and efficiency and innovation.
“It’s time to reinvest in our cities and reaffirm the importance of local governance,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. “By creating a grant program to support cities and local communities, we can better align state and local economic development priorities and support struggling communities dealing with serious challenges.”
The mayors also recommend creating a state-level Office of Drug Policy to enhance communications and cooperation between state and local governments. The office would serve as a primary point of contact between state agencies, local governments, regional intragovernmental coalitions, and community partners.
“The opioid epidemic has been a slow-motion tragedy for too many Ohio families and local communities,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “We need better communication, coordination and cooperation to properly confront the deadly consequences of addictive drugs in our communities.”
Addressing the state’s transportation funding needs is also a priority for the Ohio Mayors Alliance. The group is recommending that a transportation taskforce be convened immediately following the election to begin to prepare specific recommendations by January of 2019.
“Resources to address Ohio’s transportation infrastructure needs are woefully inadequate and it’s time to get serious about our future,” said Kettering Mayor Don Patterson. “A broad, bipartisan taskforce will not only inform the next governor and legislature, but it will begin to galvanize leaders from across the state to take action on a difficult challenge.”
Also today, the Ohio Mayors Alliance and the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a joint report on the importance of Ohio’s city metro areas to the future growth of the Ohio economy. The report highlights that in 2017, 83.5% of the State’s jobs and 86.1% of its wages were generated in Ohio’s 14 metro areas. 85.1% of the State’s economic output in 2017 occurred in its metro regions. Since 2000, Ohio’s city metros accounted for all of the state’s job gains and 87% of its economic output gains. The report was prepared by IHS Markit.
“As this report indicates, Ohio’s metro regions are the drivers of the State’s economy,” said Middletown Mayor Lawrence Mulligan, Jr., “And it is clear that the future prosperity of Ohio rests with the ability of state and local governments to align economic development priorities and for regional economies to grow.”
Formed in 2016, the Ohio Mayor Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of mayors from Ohio’s largest cities. The group met in Columbus today and were joined by U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Columbia, SC Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, as well as Boston, MA Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The Nationwide Foundation also briefed the group on its new public-private partnership called the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance.
For more information and to read the reports, visit the “Research” page on OhioMayorsAlliance.org.
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