• Ohio’s Budget: It’s About Frickin’ Time

    by  • December 17, 2009 • Uncategorized

    I couldn’t help but think of this exchange from Ghostbusters when I heard last night that the Democrats sorta came to their senses and a compromise had been reached on the Ohio budget.

    Gozer: The Choice is made!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Whoa! Ho! Ho! Whoa-oa!
    Gozer: The Traveller has come!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Nobody choosed anything!
    [turns to Egon]
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Did you choose anything?
    Dr. Egon Spengler: No.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: [to Winston] Did YOU?
    Winston Zeddemore: My mind is totally blank.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: *I* didn’t choose anything…
    [long pause, Peter, Egon and Winston all look at Ray]
    Dr Ray Stantz: I couldn’t help it. It just popped in there.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: [angrily] What? *What* “just popped in there?”
    Dr Ray Stantz: I… I… I tried to think…
    Dr. Egon Spengler: LOOK!
    [they all look over one side of the roof]
    Dr Ray Stantz: No! It CAN’T be!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: What is it?
    Dr Ray Stantz: It CAN’T be!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: What did you DO, Ray?

    After this mess of a budget season[read: year], that question can also be asked of the Governor.

    What did you DO, Ted?

    But first, the compromise as it stands as of the drafting of this post very early on Thursday morning:

    The agreement contains Strickland’s plan to delay the final 4.2 percent planned income tax reduction to erase the budget gap. It also establishes a pilot project to test out proposed changes to construction contracting that supporters say will save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

    A plan to make it easier for school districts to get out of a requirement that they provide all-day kindergarten also was included.

    I give it a good, solid B+.

    It’s official. Ohioans are going to be paying more this year on their taxes than they planned.

    Republicans gave in a bit and scaled back their request for construction law reform, despite Strickland voicing support for it months ago.

    Finally, Republicans made a whole lot of teachers happy when they got the Democrats to agree to delay their totally infeasible all-day kindergarten proposal.

    So let it be known that on December 17th, 323 days after Governor Strickland first introduced his biennial budget in the State of the State speech, Ohio finally has a budget.

    A really, really, really, bad budget.

    Out of curiousity, I checked out when Ohio’s budgets had passed in the past couple legislatures.

    In 2007, the budget passed on June 28th.

    In 2005, it was June 22nd.

    But now? December 17th.

    Governor Strickland, you’ve clearly lost control of your state.

    Imagine the time wasted. Under his leadership, this process took nearly five months later than normal.

    During those months Ohio could have been focusing on ways to solve the job crisis, making state government run more efficiently, or giving education reform another go.

    Instead, it was wasted.

    Now Statehouse Democrats will do their best to blame Republicans, but at the end of the day, the buck needs to stop with the Governor.

    Rather than lead, he tried to use a legally questionable slot proposal.
    Rather than lead, he could only ask of his critics, “well, what would you do?”
    Rather than lead, he tried to cancel Christmas.

    This is why Strickland has far higher negatives than Fisher and Brunner. Because Ohioans recognize what a complete and total failure Ted Strickland has been as Governor.

    Ohio needs a leader. Ohio needs John Kasich.

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