Ohio's Budget Director Tries to Ensure There's No Repeat of 2016 Forecast Problems

Jul 14, 2017

Budget Director Tim Keen's tax collections projection was nearly a billion dollars short.
Credit OHIO OFFICE OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT

The state budget director took a lot of heat for tax collections that came in nearly a billion dollars below his projections.  That office is trying to make sure it doesn’t miss with its forecast for the new budget. But there are still a lot of economic uncertainties to deal with.

Budget Director Tim Keen says prices were down in the fiscal year that just ended, so that’s partly why tax collections were down. And he notes weekly wages fell in the last part of 2016, too.

“When weekly wages fall, it should not be surprising that income tax withholdings that are taken out of weekly wages also fell.”

Keen has revised downwards growth estimates in the new budget by 1 percent, and says while his boss Gov. John Kasich is concerned, Ohio is still growing jobs.

But the progressive think tank Policy Matters Ohio says job growth for this year through May puts the state on track for growth that’s slower than last year, which the worst year for job growth since the recession ended in 2009.