How Ohio should focus on results

DEAR EDITOR:

Despite best intentions and hard work in our communities, Ohio continues to be ground zero for devastating public health issues. Drug addiction, infant mortality and criminal recidivism are just a few complex problems we face, and we’re spending billions to fight them. Too many lives are being lost for us to keep investing in the same strategies, hoping we’ll get different outcomes.

It’s time to focus on results. In government, often the best way to change something is to change how we fund it.

In March, I partnered with state Rep. Don Manning, R-New Middletown, and state Sen. Steve Wilson, R-Maineville, to introduce legislation creating the innovative ResultsOHIO fund. This financial tool will support “pay for success” initiatives that place taxpayer dollars behind programs and initiatives proven effective.

Here’s how it works: A persistent social or public health challenge, like heroin addiction, is identified by lawmakers. A private sector entity steps forward with their proposal to tackle the problem. The private entity and state of Ohio develop agreed-upon metrics that, at the initiative’s conclusion, will be used to determine if the initiative succeeded in positive results, like reducing overdoses and improving treatment options.

If the initiative has, in fact, met or surpassed the pre-determined metrics, ResultsOHIO fund will reimburse the private-sector partner for costs associated with the project’s administration. But if the metrics are not met, the private entity absorbs the costs and no tax dollars are spent.

Through the ResultsOHIO model, any public policy challenge with a measurable outcome of success may be addressed. ResultsOHIO does not create any new debt, it is not a new form of public assistance and it stops putting hard-earned tax dollars behind failed government-run programs.

The Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce was among the first organizations to endorse ResultsOHIO. Since the proposal’s introduction, the Ohio Business Roundtable, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and several more entities have placed their support behind us.

An approach like this one is relatively new. But the time is right for Ohio to be on the cutting edge. We can’t bankrupt our future fixing the problems of today, and we can’t spend generations fighting the same problems over and over again.

Through ResultsOHIO, we have an opportunity to deliver better outcomes to the people we serve, create a smarter government and end the cycle of paying for failing programs. Now is the time to focus on results — our families’, friends’ and neighbors’ lives depend on it.

ROBERT SPRAGUE

Ohio Treasurer

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