Today an editorial in the Dispatch blasts voters for not paying enough attention to the deficit crisis facing the state of Ohio.
But who can blame them? Until recently, the only people giving the issue any attention were John Kasich and Mary Taylor. The media had been largely glossing over it.
Where the Dispatch gets it right is acknowledging who has provided a plan, which is no one….
And, as has been noted many times by numerous observers, both major candidates for governor and most state legislative candidates have been shamefully silent on how they would balance the books.
And who is at fault…
…if the state is going to climb out of the giant hole dug by the legislature and Gov. Ted Strickland in the current budget, the people have a civic duty to step up and show they’ll support the difficult measures that will be necessary.
The budget approved last year was wildly out of balance, when taking into account only the revenues that can be counted on year after year. But Strickland and lawmakers made the numbers work by tapping several sources of one-time funds, chiefly federal stimulus dollars, and using creative accounting techniques.
Strickland hopes for another federal bailout for the 2012-13 budget. Those who like that seemingly easy fix should consider the mountainous national debt that already threatens the country’s future prosperity and national security. Agitating to add to it is irresponsible and only postpones the day when Ohio will right-size its budget to live within its means.
The reality is clear. Ted Strickland carries with him the burden of playing a primary role for putting Ohio in the position it is now. Because of his actions, the upcoming necessary cuts to Ohio’s budget will be far more harsh than if he had shown a responsibility to the long-term needs of the state.
It’s Ted Strickland’s mess, but no one in Ohio should trust him to clean it up.
But all that being said, the media has created a false dichotomy between budget cuts and tax hikes. That requires the belief that state government is running at peak efficiency.
Now, thanks to his refusal to better manage Ohio’s budget, the Governor has put himself in a position where he has to say Ohio’s state government is running at peak efficiency. Considering the mess that is Ohio’s bureaucratic nightmare, that isn’t exactly a winning position. The alternative? Admitting state government is not at peak efficiency. But if it isn’t, why hasn’t Strickland made the necessary cuts?
All that being said, what should be number one on everyone’s list is reviving the economy.
As we showed earlier this week, Strickland’s economy, as determined by his own Council of Economic Advisors, has Ohio jobs growing at a far slower rate than the rest of the country.
And recently we learned in the budget deficit commission meeting that tax revenues for the state of Ohio have decreased in each of the last four years. That’s unprecedented.
Lesser revenues are thanks to fewer people with jobs, lower incomes, and an emigrating population.
Strickland can blame a “global recession” all he wants, but that doesn’t excuse slower than the national average job growth. It doesn’t excuse lesser than national average incomes. It doesn’t excuse a national poll of 641 CEOs stating Ohio is the 7th worst state to do business.
Everything is relative. If you aren’t more attractive than your competition, then you are going to lose out.
And throwing stimulus dollars at the problem isn’t going to fix that.