COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) wants the Youngstown Air Reserve Station to be a priority in the 2016 Capital Budget.
He says right now, not one dollar is appropriated to the base for the next fiscal year. Rather, the legislature is on track to give $80,000 to the Bowling Green Curling Club and $500,00 toward a soccer stadium in Columbus. In addition, he said the state is granting the full funding amount requested by the Madcap Production for a new puppet theater, and $1 million to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum for a single exhibit.
On Tuesday, the lawmaker talked to the Ohio Buckeye Institute in Columbus about why the focus should be on the nation’s military. He is now calling on his colleagues to redirect those funds to the 910th Airlift Wing in Vienna.
“If we’re going to be face with the base realignment and closure down the line, it makes a lot of sense to cement this air base, this military installation that has more than $100 million of economic impact for the region,” Boccieri said.
The Youngstown Air Reserve Station is the third largest employer in the Mahoning Valley and, unlike the private sector, must justify its continued existence in front of a Base Realignment and Closure Committee at the federal level.
A Senate committee is currently discussing the bill. Boccieri said things will move quickly so any changes would need to be made in the next few weeks.
On Wednesday Colonel James Dignan, of the Reserve Station, will meet with two Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksburg) and Speaker Pro Tempore Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) to discuss alternative funding sources for the base.