7/4/2012 10:31:00 PM Ohio officials add $235 million to rainy day fund
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Ohio officials are adding $235 million to the state's rainy day fund, a move they said Tuesday was made possible by solid tax revenue growth and under-spending in the Medicaid program.
The transfer of surplus dollars brings the fund's balance to $482 million, far exceeding the 89 cents it held when Gov. John Kasich took office at the beginning of 2011. The emergency fund held about $247 million when the fiscal year ended June 30.
"This is a very good news day," Kasich told reporters in a conference call. "We're putting money in the bank, which is what every family wants to do to make sure they're strong."
The Republican governor said he wasn't going to spend the money, even if others call for it. "That's how we got in this trouble," he said.
Kasich last month vetoed a provision that the GOP-led Legislature added to his wide-ranging midterm budget bill to give $30 million in bonuses to high-quality nursing homes. Some Democrats have also said the state should be doing more to help school districts that have had to increase class sizes and local governments that have had to cut services as they grapple with state budget cuts.
Ohio has made economic gains. Kasich's budget closed a yawning budget gap that approached $8 billion. And the state's unemployment rate dropped in May for the 10th consecutive month, from 7.4 percent in April to 7.3 percent.
Still, the governor warned that Ohio isn't in the clear.
"There's so much uncertainty that we don't want to get ourselves in a position where we're popping champagne corks and thinking everything is all right," he said. Kasich blamed some of that uncertainty on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
The state is bracing for hundreds of thousands of eligible Ohioans to sign up for Medicaid once the federal law requires most people to have health insurance.