Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ohio's Budget: It's About Frickin' Time

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.


  1. LMAO....
    Nobody believes this spin, not even Kyle Sisk.

    First, the State budget passed in June, not December.

    Second, John Kasich has been AWOL in this debate... and consciously so because he has no ideas.

    Third, if this budget is bad, what will John Kasich's be given that he's yet to explain how he'd resolve the deficit the size of 40% of the State's entire revenues his tax plans call for.

    Fourth, this latest budget empasse would have been resolved months ago except that the Senate GOP decided to draw this out to help Kasich.

    Now, they've totally competulated to Strickland.

    Democrats came to their senses? We got everything we wanted!

  2. In response…

    1. Correct. Unfortunately Strickland’s solution was so bad that the courts told him to go back and try again. In other words, the budget wasn’t balanced as the Ohio constitution requires. It will only be balanced upon completion of these negotiations, which should happen today. Thus, a 11-month budget debacle.
    2. John Kasich isn’t Governor. And he’s also smart enough to know that since no one has elected him to anything yet, that his input would only politicize the debate moreso than it has been.
    3. Kasich will provide details probably around the same point in the campaign that Ted started to provide his in 2006, which was around the spring.
    4. No. It would have been solved months ago if we had a competent Governor and a House that didn’t want to see Ohio’s budget continue to rise without consequence.
    5. Dems won? Yes, I’ll capitulate that you won your tax hike, but don’t think that will provide you any political gain in 2010. Republicans fixed the ridiculously bad all-day kindergarten issue….at least for now. And they also were able to screw the unions a bit in the process with the construction law pilot projects…one of which is the billion dollar facility at OSU. The unions won’t be happy.

    Ultimately, this was a major political loss for Strickland. Over the course of several months, voters were inundated with headlines in the papers calling the budget a fiasco. The inability to create compromise and provide solutions was clear everyday when Ohioans saw these headlines – and the recent poll numbers prove that. This compromise is worth one or two days worth of coverage in the papers. That doesn't combat the months of bad press voters witnessed.

    Also, to think any substantive number of Ohioans have been following the in the weeds negotiations that Democrats feel have turned the tide against Republicans….well, that’s just completely unrealistic. Voters don't follow this kinda stuff. Only hacks like us do.

    Finally, don't for a moment think that 2010 will be about this budget negotiation. It will be about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. It's easy when you follow politics to get caught up into each political victory. But as I've discussed previously, winning elections is based on issues much bigger than budget compromises.

  3. John Kasich cannot call himself a leader if he continues to refuse to lead. He didn't provide answers because he doesn't have any.

    John Kasich has been running for Governor for years, and you know that. Stop the nonsense of comparing him to Strickland, especially when you know that Strickland was a late entry to the race (and supposedly Kasich is supposed to be so super awesome compared to Strickland.)

    The last government job Kasich had lead to more than one shutdown of the federal government because John Kasich, SuperAwesome House Budget Chairman, couldn't get a budget enacted in time for the federal government to pay its bills.

    You're starting to sound like the Iraqi Information Minister with this spin.

    No, the budget was balanced, but $800 million was subject to repeal by popular referndum. Since that was too unreliable, Strickland proposed a course for a reliable, stable, and balanced budget.

    For purely political reasons, the Senate GOP twiddled their thumbs hoping to come up with an alternative, but they couldn't agree to anything.

    So they basically gave them everything that Strickland proposed.

    You can say the opposite all you want, but it's a lie. The Senate GOP agreed to give Strickland just about everything he wanted because neither they, nor your candidate, had any alternative ideas.

    It's not a tax hike when your taxes stay the same. Which isn't going to hurt Strickland politically given the alternative and he's ushed three years of tax cuts during his term, cut spending to below what it was when he came in office, shrank the number of government employees to the Reagan years.

    John Kasich cannot even decide if he supports casinos until the rest of the State votes on it.

  4. Want to move the goalposts on this issue? Fine.

    Want to discuss Kasich’s record as budget chairman? PLEASE CONTINUE TO DO SO!

    All that will do is highlight his ability to balance a near incomprehensible federal budget and his hardline on fiscal responsibility – something Ohio sorely lacks.

    Thank you for agreeing we didn’t have a balanced budget until today’s compromise. And no matter how you try to spin it, you can’t refute a record of media coverage of the budget over the course of the past year that has severely damaged Strickland.

    Will Strickland get positive coverage for this budget? Yep. But it will only last a couple days and is not capable of diffusing months of negative coverage. That’s just the way it is, no matter how annoyed it makes you.

    Ultimately, this budget compromise will be long forgotten come next month, nevermind fall of next year.

    As for the Senate GOP, of course I’m disappointed they didn’t offer up the tough solution of cutting more spending. And I don’t disagree they surrendered. [see previous posts telling Strickland he’s won the budget battle]

    But if the argument is whether this is a great benefit from a political perspective? I disagree immensely.

    As for your claim about Strickland cutting spending to levels below when he entered in office, that’s just plain untrue.

    From the LSC:

    FY06 final appropriation: $ 49,616,818,142
    FY10 final appropriation: $ 55,676,487,088

    FY11 final appropriation: $56,624,750,410

  5. Geez, don't throw a hissy.... Yeah, the initial difference between Clinton's budget and Kasich was that either one would have led to a surplus.

    But thanks to John's "leadership" he helped Newt shutdown the government to try to force his way. Instead, he guaranteed Clinton an easy re-election and saw his new found majority status already begin to slip away.

    I didn't move the goalposts, you did.

    Yes, because Ted Strickland wasn't willing to push for an actual tax increase, the media beat up on him. But once he proposed the tax freeze they turned on the Republicans, and John Kasich ran away like a scared little girl who refuses to answer the most basic of candidate questions.

    Yes, Ohio so lack fiscal discipline what with its legislative spending limits and balanced budget amendments.

    Apparently, you didn't need to know how to read to work for John, either. I said that the Strickland budget was balanced, but that was jeopardized by the Supreme Court's ruling that made $800 million in revenue subject to a referendum vote.

    So, instead, Strickland decided the State needed a budget correction to better guarantee a balanced state budget.

    Kyle Sisk disagrees with you, because he didn't leave his brain at the door the second he agreed to support John Kasich.

    The fact is that this was a bipartisan decision and better than the alternative and Strickland emerges as a strong leader while your candidate is in hiding.

    You started this post by claiming it was the Democrats who caved, now you've finally admitted it was the GOP. You're learning slowly, but just enough to give me hope.

    How's the weather in VA?

  6. Like I said, keep bringing up John's time as budget chairman - I welcome it.

    I'm not sure why you keep pushing for Kasich to inject himself into the budget debate. He's not a current elected official, and the budget is too important to bring a candidate in and politicize the whole mess.

    He has several months to communicate to the people of Ohio how he's organize his own budget when he's Governor. That's the right thing to do both politically and from a policy perspective.

    I strongly disagree on your assertion that Strickland was a strong leader in this debate. If he had been, something would have been accomplished a long time ago. Threatening an emergency session is lazy leadership.

    As for who caved, as I've stated in multiple posts in the past week, it was the Senate GOP who compromised more, thus my post stating to Budish, "are you so stupid that you don't realize that you've won?"

    With that said, according to all media reports, it was the House Dems did relent on all-day kindergarten and construction laws.

    So in reality, both sides gave in - and that's why it's called a compromise.

    Whether the whole budget process has been a victory for Strickland, I find it difficult to see a rational way to say that's the case.

    As for VA, we're supposed to get a lot of snow this weekend. Woo hoo!


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