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Yost’s Big Idea to help with the Big Budget problem

This week Dave Yost, a Republican candidate for State Auditor, unveiled a new policy proposal that would create a state commission that will change the way Ohio develops its biennial budget.

The state commission would be made up of the auditor, treasurer and attorney general. It would be patterned after county budget commissions made up of the county treasurer, county auditor and county prosecuting attorney, said Yost.

The commission would have the authority to monitor revenue during the course of the year and to increase or reduce revenue estimates as needed, said Yost.

Naturally, his GOP primary opponent, Seth Morgan, came out against it? Why? I’m not really sure. It may be simply because he feels obligated just because he’s the opponent….because his reasoning makes little sense.

Morgan, in a press release, questioned the value of such a commission.

“To have the auditor of state who is tasked with issuing an objective and independent financial audit report being involved with placing their credibility on the estimates of the revenue itself creates the appearance of a lack of independence in issuing that financial audit report,” Morgan said.

Interestingly enough, Morgan stands with Governor Strickland and ODP Chairman Chris Redfern in opposition to Yost’s proposal. Considering the way Ohio has been run the past four years, is that really company Morgan would want to keep in an issue like this?

The way I understand it, as part of the proposed commission, the Auditor will be one of three independent state executive members that analyzes revenue and expenditures independent from Governor and legislature. Thus, with regard to auditing state agencies and programs, it would not conflict with the “independent” nature of the State Auditor’s work. In fact, this would allow for more effective communications between the agencies.

Additionally, neither the auditor nor the commission would be telling the Governor or the general assembly specifically how they can spend the taxpayers funds. Consequently, the commission would ensure both entities would have the accurate, transparent, and clear revenue and expenditure estimates and projections without political posturing.

The idea would be that the commission would tell both the Governor and General Assembly how much they have or will have to spend, just like the county budget commissions tell the county commissioners how much they have or will have to spend in the next fiscal year. It creates a more open and transparent process without political agendas.

See, this is the way government should work – taking ideas that work at the local level and adapting them to state government in order to make a more efficient government. With this proposal, Yost, as the only candidate running for the job that has actually served as a County Auditor, helps drive home the point that experience counts.

And Representative Morgan should know a good idea when he sees one.

UPDATE: This post has brought up an interesting question. From a conservative perspective, is it better to have a more efficient or inefficient government?

It’s a big question, and the parameters have to be set before debating it. For example, are we talking about government in its ideal state? Are we talking about a government with a fixed amount to spend?

In an ideal state, I’d support what a friend termed as “efficient, but limited to its proper scope”.

But in its current state and under a fixed budget, an inefficient government that makes it more difficult for the government to influence how I want to live my life would be preferred.

Honestly, it’s a topic that deserves its own book, let alone a post on a blog.

Either way, it seems Seth Morgan supports the same end goal as Dave Yost and prefers to expand government in order to increase efficiency, but by different means. His preference is the following:

House Bill 120 creates a Legislative Budget Committee and the Legislative Budget Office making a Committee of the Legislature that can be independent in its revenue estimates of that of the Governor.

Without researching, I’d suppose Yost’s idea of following the model that has been tested at the County level would be preferred. But Morgan’s proposal does deserve a proper hearing to determine its credibility.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.

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