As I said last week to Democrat Speaker Budish, "are you so much of a loser that you can't even tell you've won?"
Let me sum up the situation for those that have lost track of where we are:
Ohio Democrats don't seem to understand how compromise works. In a split legislature, it's hard to imagine a better situation for Ohio House Dems and Governor Strickland.
- After Gov. Strickland's poorly thought out plan to balance the budget by installing slot machines around Ohio failed, he decided to recommend a tax increase to take care of the $700 million shortfall.
- Concluding much debate, 5 Republicans in the GOP controlled Ohio Senate partially relented and accepted a partial tax increase, along with prison and construction law reforms that would save the state millions. They promised they would vote for this plan and along with the Democrats in the state senate, the budget solution would get passed.
- It should be noted that the Governor has shown his support for these reforms in the past.
- Democrats who control the Ohio House said no, and in a response eerily similar to how I responded when I learned my best friend in elementary school got the new GI Joe toy that I wanted, stomped their feet and said they wanted their own provisions too.
Under the solution offered by a few moderate Ohio Senate Republicans, the Dems get their tax increase, they get rid of their budget headache, and they get to start focusing on saving their butts in 2010.
In fact, I wonder why no one has asked the Ohio Senate Democrats that have agreed to support the Senate GOP plan what they think of the Ohio House dragging their feet.
Clearly, the Ohio House Dems want to keep playing games.
For some strange reason, they seem to think everyday Ohioans pay attention to the weeds of Statehouse politics.
I hate to break it to them, but the vast majority of those who will be voting next November currently have no idea what solutions are being debated and who is saying what.
What they do know is that their neighbor has been out of work for 8 months and they want to know what's being done about it.
Perhaps this editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday said it best:
When two kids are fighting the way House and Senate Democrats and Republicans have been, it's up to a grown-up to step in and stop the bickering. Unfortunately, that adult has been strangely silent on the issue.
Meanwhile, legislative Democrats, chained by labor unions' demands to cling to the wasteful, outmoded status quo, are resisting needed reforms. That is petty, petulant and destructive. They need to start joining a good-faith effort to right-size state government and streamline its processes.
We all stand to benefit. Construction contracting reform, for example, would save institutions such as the University of Cincinnati millions of dollars on construction costs.
Don't waste a crisis. Don't squander Ohio's future.
Ohioans need a leader in the Governor's office. Not one that sits back and watches Ohio fall apart in front of his eyes.
Governor Strickland, here is your moment. Step up. Take control. Make a deal happen.