Ohio's projected money hole in the next state budget may be substantially more than the $4 to $8 billion dollars that's been talked about for the past year. Chris Widener who will chair the powerful senate finance committee next year, hints it could be a ten billion dollar shortfall.Widener says the new budget automatically starts with an 8.5 billion dollar hole....because that's how much the current budget depends on one-time money, funds the state received last year like stimulus dollars that do not recur.
Senator Chris Widener: "We have medicaid spending over the last three years that's escalated to the point of an additional billion dollars, and there's about a dozen of those items, what we call spending pressures, that have to be addressed that are not a part of the $8.5 billion dollars of one-time money."
Senator Chris Widener says his fellow Republicans will start trying to fill the money hole by cutting spending. Governor-elect John Kasich has vowed there won't be any tax hike, but one of his most powerful allies, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, is suggesting that higher taxes may be needed as a relatively small part of a huge budget-balancing package of spending cuts and government streamlining.