Monday, June 13, 2011

How to make a budget crisis into hundreds of little ones

(Originally published in Bargain Hunter publications June 9, 2011)

Nearly six months into Gov. John Kasich's first term it's apparent that he doesn't give a darn about getting re-elected.

He is irritating just about everyone.

And his strategy for fixing the state's $8 billion budget deficit is simple: Shift the crisis from the state to local governments, which include your favorite public school system.

And then he tells the folks who have to educate children, pave roads and hire cops that they better not raise taxes to pay for the cuts the state is imposing on them.

In other words, he is solving the state's big budget crisis by creating hundreds of "little" budget crises.

Kasich is an equal-opportunity agitator, and his reformist tentacles will touch all Ohioans – rich, poor, rural, urban, students, parents, Democrats and Republicans.

Indeed, school systems whose parents are predominately Republican are facing the biggest cuts. That means those districts ultimately will have the biggest levy requests down the road. Fork it over, Mr. Kasich Supporter.

(What, you think school districts aren't going to ask for operating levies because Kasich told them not to?)

Veteran political columnist Brent Larkin of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has used the word "bluster" on a couple of occasions to describe Kasich's style. That fits.

And how about "bull in a china shop"?

So, you have to give props, sort of, to Kasich, who shrugs off lousy poll numbers, saying he doesn't care about such things, which I think means he doesn't care about getting re-elected. Perhaps his legacy is far more important to him than a second term.

My guess is that Ohioans ultimately will disagree with him on how to define that legacy.


I think most people agree that Dover could use a new high school, but that this is the worst possible time to ask for money to build one.

Evidence of that is all around us. The price of gasoline is more than a dollar-per-gallon higher than it was a year ago. Food costs are escalating because of extreme weather events and those higher fuel prices. There is virtually no new housing construction occurring in Tuscarawas County, which means contractors and others connected to that industry are scrambling to maintain their incomes.

And there are a good number of us trying to figure out how to afford our remaining years on this planet.

Against that backdrop, the state has placed Dover on the emergency funding list for a new school, and those charged with shaping a vision of the future are trying hard to figure out a way to get it done. They are good people and deserve our appreciation for at least trying.

You might think about that before you lash out at them by leaving anonymous chicken-poop comments on various newspapers' websites or telephone answering machines.


I did not know Marine Lance Cpl. Peter Clore, 23, of New Philadelphia or his family.

Clore was buried earlier this week following services in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in New Philadelphia. He suffered fatal combat wounds last month while serving in Afghanistan.

I am humbled by his commitment to family, church and country and offer condolences to his family and friends.

And thanks to all who serve.

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