LIMA — A presentation was held Friday to discuss what local officials learned from the State of the State address and the ramifications of future legislations.
The event, titled “What We Should Have Already Known: What We Learned From the State of the State Address,” was held at Veterans Memorial Civic Center as a part of the Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Wake, Rattle and Roll program. Keynote speaker for the presentation was Ohio Rep. Matt Huffman and was joined by other speakers such as Jim Zehringer of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Kathy Luhn of the Allen County Health Department.
The State of the State address featured Gov. John Kasich’s newest proposals to a biennial budget that was met with some resistance throughout the state. Local officials argue his budget eliminates necessary funding to local governments while focusing his returns on his own state budget. Huffman argues local goverments and municipalities are not cognisant of their contradictions toward the state budget.
“I know there are criticisms from local government officials regarding the state budget, and I believe they are unwarranted,” Huffman said. “There is always resistance from those who receive federal dollars from the budget, but there has been specific targeting of dollars that aren’t general revenue that helps provide local funds from the state.”
With the recent debate on budget restrictions in Allen County are recent unemployment numbers in the county. As of June, unemployment in Allen County rose to 8.2 percent, ranking the county as 29th among leading unemployment counties throughout Ohio. Huffman thinks there are jobs in our county that need to be filled but employers are having a hard time finding consistent long-term employees.
“I think there are some specific short-term things we can do as a county to increase employment numbers but are being held back for a number of reasons,” Huffman said. “In the near future, we need the federal government to stop giving out long-term unemployment compensation because it can act as an incentive for some people to not seek work that needs to be filled.”
The event was held to talk about the potential results of the state budget, but also to boast about what a great job the city of Lima did in hosting the address. Zehringer was quick to mention how important the entire community of Lima was in hosting the governor's State of the State address.
“I would like to recognize our mayor, the city of Lima and everyone who contributed to the event,” Zehringer said. “I would not want to be the next city to host the address, because we will be tough to top.”