Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, issued the following statement in response to Governor Justice’s announcement of his plan to close the Fiscal Year 2017 gap:
“We appreciate that Governor Justice has embraced the previously announced Republican initiative that will utilize funds that are currently stashed away within the executive branch of government to balance this year’s budget.
Today, the Governor made a claim that in just six weeks he’s “uncovered” $120 million, as if these funds were hidden in a sock drawer. Nothing could be further from reality. In fact, this money isn’t hidden. There’s nothing secret about it. The very amounts of money in these accounts are under the Governor’s purview. Furthermore, these funds are publicly available on both the Governor’s Budget Office website and the Legislature’s website. Clearly, Governor Justice has discovered the resources that are at his disposal, and has wisely decided to utilize the information to make an informed decision about his budget proposal. For the Governor to suggest that he just prevented a raid on the Rainy Day Fund is simply wrong, particularly in light of the fact that the Governor’s introduced budget bill raids the Rainy Day Fund by more than $123 million.
We look forward to working with Governor Justice his executive agencies to craft a meaningful solution to our state’s budget crisis. The use of one-time money is a slippery slope, and the Legislature is focused on addressing the structural deficiencies in this budget rather than add another layer of one-time patches to simply survive another year.”