Letting Locals Set Priorities

Give Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine credit for recognizing something that all too many officials in state capitals throughout the nation do not. In his words, spoken Tuesday in St. Clairsville: “All wisdom does not reside in Columbus, Ohio.”

DeWine was in Belmont County to talk with local officials about his plan to increase funding for mental health and substance addiction treatment. His state budget proposal seeks an additional $22 million for the purpose.

Such requests by governors and, for that matter, presidents, are not unusual. But much of the time, they come with strings attached. Those strings lead straight to state capitals or Washington, where bureaucrats place restrictions, sometimes severe ones, on how money for various initiatives is to be spent.

But DeWine recognizes that local people understand the needs of their neighbors better than do state officials in Columbus. So he wants both a big increase in funding for mental health and addiction treatment and more flexibility in how the funds are spent.

DeWine, still new as the Buckeye State’s chief executive, has pledged to be more attentive to the needs of communities. His attitude, that sometimes local officials know best how state funding should be spent, is both refreshing and absolutely, positively true. In fact, it will maximize the benefits from that new $22 million.

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