Ohio's Public Transit Systems Continue to Look for a $238 Million Solution

Oct 30, 2017

Public transit agencies and state lawmakers are trying to come up with money to replace the hundreds of millions that were collected as a tax on Medicaid managed-care organizations.
Credit SARTA

Ohio lawmakers are still trying to come up with a new plan to replace hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that public transit agencies and counties lost in the last state budget. And as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports the money will be running out earlier than anticipated.

Until last year, Ohio’s 88 counties and eight mass transit agencies collected more than $200 million a year from a sales tax on Medicaid managed-care organizations.

But the federal government said that was no longer allowed, and Gov. John Kasich vetoed an attempt to renew the tax in the last state budget. Lawmakers considered replacing it with a tax on drilling or on all managed-care organizations, but those proposals went nowhere. And short term proposals – dependent in part on the state finishing the fiscal year in June with a healthy bottom line – would make up less than half the amount lost.

Jose Feliciano Jr. is external affairs manager for Cuyahoga County’s RTA.

“The reality is, it’s a $238 million hole. So everything they do is incredibly appreciated. However, we’re just trying to put a Band Aid on a gunshot.”

The state has allotted $207 million for this fiscal year, but Feliciano says that money is running out three months earlier than anticipated.