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Study Shows Aging Population Could Blow Big Hole In State Budget

A new study shows state health care spending on the aging population could cause budgetary problems in the future.

Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

Buckeyes are getting older, as a group. And a new study says that means fewer people in the workforce and lower consumer spending but more money poured into health care – which could mean big trouble ahead.  Jon Honeck with the Center for Community Solutions did the study. 

“We found that over the next 20 years, on an annual basis by 2035, there will be about a $2 billion deficit opened up from the combination of the loss of tax revenue and the increases in spending.”

But Honeck says there’s still time to plug the budget hole before it develops. He notes the state has been working to control health care and Medicaid spending, and he says that needs to continue – especially when it comes to keeping older Ohioans in their homes rather than in nursing homes. And Honeck says the shift from income taxes to sales taxes – an idea supported by many Republicans including Gov. John Kasich – could make the looming problem worse. 
“We also need to be smart about the tax side. I think around Capitol Square there’s been some wishful thinking going on in that we can just continue to cut taxes, especially on the income tax side, and not have some negative consequences for the state budget.”

Honeck also suggests internship programs to keep younger people from leaving Ohio after college, and creative ideas that can help seniors stay in the workforce longer, including flexible work schedules and more ergonomic workspaces.

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