Ohio needs to use the Rescue Funds wisely

In the shell game that is American Rescue Plan spending, taxpayers have already seen plenty of head-scratchers as states receive federal money … that they plan to use to pay back federal loans. It almost seems as though the folks in Washington, D.C., could have just skipped a step.

But given restrictions placed on spending the American Rescue Plan money, it makes sense that states would want to do what will be best for taxpayers in the long run, and while they are able.

Independent free-market public policy think tank The Buckeye Institute has issued a report suggesting to Ohio officials that if they play their cards right, they could use the rescue plan funds to save state taxpayers more than $1.3 billion.

“The American Rescue Plan will give Ohio $5.4 billion and policymakers should use these federal taxpayer dollars to repay federal loans for the state’s unemployment trust fund; expand broadband access in unserved corners of the state; and extend commonsense criminal justice reforms that will reduce prison over-crowding,” said Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center and vice president of policy at The Buckeye Institute, and co-author of the memo.

Authors of the report rightly remind Ohio lawmakers not to test the boundaries of some of the rescue plan’s fuzzier language.

Money headed our way presents an opportunity for lawmakers to do some long-term good for the state — if they don’t get too greedy or make too much attempt at political theater. Let us hope they heed the advice to exercise restraint.


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