Although we may not realize it when he’s staring at us, adversity often brings out the best in us. That certainly proved true here in Buckeye State.
The last few years have not been without tax storms. In fact, the combination of COVID-19, soaring inflation, and ongoing supply chain issues has brought an economic hurricane to our nation’s shores.
But we’ve worked hard to keep the ship stable here in Ohio.
These efforts were highlighted recently when Fitch Ratings – one of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies – upgraded Ohio’s long-term issuer default rating to “AAA” – marking the first time Fitch has placed its highest mark on Ohio State. In short, this credit upgrade is a big win for Ohio’s taxpayers and its financial future because it will immediately lower the cost of borrowing for our state.
But this victory did not happen overnight. It took several years of sound stewardship and financial planning to get us to where we are today.
In fact, just over a decade ago, Ohio faced one of its greatest economic challenges in the form of an $8 billion budget deficit.
Like virtually every state in 2010, Ohio was reeling from the Great Recession. Unemployment was on the rise, budgets were under crushing pressure, and our state coffers were in disarray.
The people of Ohio demanded change, and that’s exactly what they got.
As a freshman member of the Ohio House of Representatives, I worked side-by-side with my colleagues and administration officials to deliver a strong, transformative, and most importantly, balanced state budget. Together, we helped replenish our fiscal stabilization fund while simultaneously reducing income taxes for hard-working families across the state.
In short, we restored fiscal discipline and adopted prudent budgeting principles that put Ohio on the path to economic prosperity.
Today, as Treasurer of Ohio, I remain committed to those same conservative practices that took shape more than a decade ago. In managing our state’s investments, debt portfolio and cash flow, we work day in and day out to strengthen Ohio’s balance sheet and do our part to build a stronger foundation for years to come.
The recent credit upgrade is the result of years of Ohio government entities working effectively and in partnership with each other. From the executive branch to the General Assembly, smart and conservative budgeting and investment strategies have become the norm in Buckeye State.
This hard work and renewed commitment to sound financial principles has revitalized Ohio and positioned it well for the future.
While it’s impossible to tell what economic challenges are on the horizon, Ohioans can rest assured that our financial footing is stronger than ever – and that’s a story worth telling. told.
(Sprague is Ohio’s state treasurer.)