Seneca County government representatives attended State Rep. Rex Damschroder's office hours Friday to discuss the state's budgets and other topics at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.
The state government will spend the next few months working on the budget, which has to be finalized by June 30. Damschroder compared approving the budget, which works in a two-year cycle, to buying a used
"When you buy a house, you're not going to like everything," he said. "However, when you go to buy it, you're buying the package. You either have to take it or leave it. You can't take what you like and drop what you don't like. And that's the trouble with doing the budget; there's a lot of things in there that you like and a lot of things in there you don't like, but you got to vote on the whole package."
Damschroder said Gov. John Kasich has been "financially on the leading edge" and said he has been innovative in ways to keep the state's finances in order.
Kathy Oliver director of Seneca County Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and assistant director Bob Anderson discussed unemployment and welfare benefits with Damschroder.
Damschroder said he has heard many citizens say these programs should require some sort of drug testing.
He said while it makes sense to have drug testing for people who receive benefits, it might not be constitutional.
Oliver said whether drug-testing people trying to get welfare or receive unemployment is constitutional is "the sticking point."
Damschroder also said imposing a drug test to these people could harm children whose parents rely on welfare.
"You can't punish the children for what their parents do," he
Damschroder said there are some people who believe people who receive unemployment should be required to get drug tested because in order to receive unemployment, the person should be actively seeking work, which in many cases means not doing drugs.
"Taking a drug test should not be an issue at all if you're serious about going back to work," he said.
Oliver said Kasich's budget is fair to the ODJFS.
Damschroder told Oliver and Anderson if they have any recommendations for adjustments to the budgets to contact him.
Commissioner Jeff Wagner also came to Damschroder's office hours and updated him about the new Seneca County Youth Center, as well as asked if the state is considering giving local governments more financial support.
Wagner said the state cut the Local Government Fund 50-percent last year. He said some of that 50-percent should be restored.
Damschroder said it's going to be a while before the county is going to see some of that money come back, but said there will not be any additional cuts in the new budgets.
Wagner asked the state rep to keep the local governments in mind when making financial decisions.
Damschroder said he also met Friday morning with representatives of the six new townships in Seneca County that are now apart of his district.
His new district, District 88, now includes six eastern townships that he did not represent during his previous terms as representative.