It may seem counterintuitive, but a spending cut in Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget might not save taxpayers money.
Kasich has proposed cutting more than half the funding for the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel. His plan would reduce the agency's budget for the two-year period beginning July 1 from $8.5 million to $4.1 million.
Sounds like a good start, right? Halving the funding for all state agencies would save a lot of money.
Not surprisingly, the office chief, Consumers' Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander, is against the idea. But she makes a good case.
The OCC, she pointed out, is funded solely by utility assessments. Cutting her agency's budget would not reduce the projected state budget deficit.
In reality, it might not save Ohioans money or help the state's economy. The OCC represents some 4.5 million residential utility customers in Ohio in dealings with public utilities.
A spokeswoman for the governor said funding for the agency ultimately comes from Ohioans. Cutting the agency's budget would save state residents money.
But the agency claims over a two-year period, its work has saved customers about $54.5 million - money that would be saved, invested or otherwise injected into the state's economy.
If that's true, lawmakers should consider maintaining funding for the OCC. We think most Ohioans would agree spending $1 to save $12 makes sense.