Sunday, June 07, 2009

Where are Ohio's Political Leaders?

"Where are Ohio's Political Leaders?" is penned by Am I Missing Something? We are ecstatic to have Am I Missing Something? back after a long break from blogging and hope she is back for good this time. ;-)

Where are Ohio’s Political Leaders?

The people of Ohio deserve better, much, much better!

Ohio deserves a Governor who is more concerned about the future of the State of Ohio than his own re-election.

Example #1. K-12 Education Funding Plan

Faced with rapidly decreasing tax revenue, a mounting state budget deficit, Governor Strickland proposes within his budget proposal a complete re-write of the K-12 funding formula … a funding formula that will add to the budget deficit $2.8 billion.

(By the way, the $2.8 billion cost is a guess circulating around the Statehouse because our “Profile in Courage” Governor did not provide a cost estimate for his K-12 education funding plan.)

Is this the leadership we deserve?

Why complicate an already difficult budget with a misguided attempt to fulfill a campaign promise that he (Strickland) would consider his tenure as governor a failure if he did not resolve the K-12 funding issue? Is it just to blame the Republican Senate?

Umm, the answer is “yes.”

Why propose a new funding formula --- regardless of the merits --- without providing the revenue to pay for it? In my opinion, the merits cannot even be discussed without cash.

Example #2. Revenue Down and Expenditures Up

The entire Strickland Budget … all $54 billion or so is based on a “house of cards” that is deteriorating each passing day. At the end of each month, Strickland trots out his budget staff to announce the tax collection is down yet but again. What does Ted do? Well, our “Profile in Courage” Governor proposes that Ohio increase state spending by 4.4%!

How can Ohio accomplish such a card trick? The fact is that the Strickland budget pays for programs that have and should be been funded by General Revenue with -

1. State Jobs Stimulus money passed last April 2008 by the then Republican controlled Ohio House and Senate. State Job Stimulus ($1.57B) is made of up bond, tobacco and $360K of General Revenue.

2. $5 billion of one time Obama bucks.

So, the Governor is not "stimulating" the Ohio economy with short term, temporary initiatives to spur job growth. He is avoiding making really hard budget decisions (politically unpopular) until after the next gubernatorial election.

Where is the fiscal reality? Earth to Ted, Come in Ted.

The Ohio voters will (hopefully) show our “Profile in Courage” Governor reality come Election Day 2010!

Ohio deserves a Speaker who is more concerned about the future of Ohio than expanding the Democratic majority in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Example. The Magically Appearing $622 million

Armond Budish, a name that a vast majority of Ohioans do not know. And, hopefully, they will not have to get to know because he should be shown the Statehouse door.

In the new, great tradition of the State of Ohio, in the era of term limits, the Ohio House of Representatives elects the Speaker of the House not based on accomplishment or legislative skill or public policy expertise. No, here is the Great State of Ohio; the Speaker of the House is the person who can raise the most campaign money. That’s how Ohio has Armond Budish, Speaker of the Ohio House and Magician.

In fact, the Magician’s Ohio House Democrats have been described as “Householder-ish” for their aggressive style of shaking the money tree.

More concerned for power and the hold on power, the majority in the Ohio House of Representatives took the flawed Strickland budget and turned it into a joke … a laughingstock … a reminder of why most people trust their elected representatives less than used car salesmen.

The magically appearing $622 million used by the Ohio House Democrats to pay off their friends in the nursing home industry and the social safety net advocates should disqualify the Democratic Party from leading the Ohio House of Representatives.

Why did they waste the Ohio taxpaying public’s time? The majority in the Ohio House added nothing to the budget debate --- except $622 million of Monopoly money.

They abdicated their leadership. They forsake their oaths of office. The Magician and his mindless minions should be shown the Statehouse door on Election Day 2010.

Ohio needs a Senate President who is more concerned about the future of Ohio than making meaningless political points with a budget proposal.

I get it. If I was a Republican Senator and was handed the shaving cream that “Profile in Courage” and Magician handed them, I would be pi**ed too.

However, one must not cut off your nose to spite your face (Disadvantage yourself in order to do harm to an adversary).

Example. Gutting Ohio’s Economic Development, Innovation and Research Programs

The indiscriminant cutting of programs by the Ohio Senate would be a complete disaster for the future of the State of Ohio. Yes, the size of state government must shrink. Yes, state bureaucracies have become bloated.

However, in order to rebuild the economy of Ohio, the state must invest in R&D, economic development and innovation. These are not programs that should be cut or simply held harmless. These are programs that need additional resources.

The Taft and Strickland Administrations have been criticized for across the board cuts. Why? It shows no thought, no prioritization. Frankly, any elementary schooler learning percentages can go through the state budget and make reductions if not given leadership

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ohio Senate, without new jobs, new investments, there will be no new Ohio economy. The actions of the Ohio Senate will do nothing to grow, retain and attract new jobs. It will cripple them.

Here is a dose of some reality.

On February 12, 2009, BusinessWeek published “The Mixed Blessing of Soaring Productivity.” The article states that as the economy recovers, employers will rely and increased productivity before increasing payrolls. Similar to the aftermath of the 2001-02 recession, the result “might also be a jobless recovery.”

Simply put, the 269,000 jobs Ohio lost over the last 15 months are not coming back. Ohio needs to focus on the new economy and grow, retain and attract those jobs to power the Ohio economy.

R&D is critical. However, the Ohio Senate slashed funding for R&D.

Where in the Ohio Senate budget is there a new partnership with the Ohio Higher Educational System?

Where in the Ohio Senate budget is there an emphasis on tech transfer by Ohio’s universities?

Where in the Ohio Senate budget is there a requirement that commercialization and economic development be added to the tenure path?

On May 26, 2009, The Wall Street Journal published “High-Tech Start-Ups Put Down Roots in New Soil.” This article highlighted both TechColumbus and Cleveland’s Jumpstart, Inc for their efforts to grow, retain and attract high-tech jobs.

Simply put, tax structure is important but it is not the whole game.

Ohio needs an economic development, incubation, innovation infrastructure to support and grow new companies and new jobs.

Where in the Ohio Senate budget is there a funding prioritization for a world-class --- O.K. just better than Georgia --- economic development, incubation, innovation infrastructure?

Where in the Ohio Senate budget is there a requirement for Ohio researchers and research equipment purchased through the Third Frontier program to work with the private sector?

Ohio is in a mess and the citizens of this great state deserve, much, much better!

Governor Strickland. We need you to be the common sense guy that represented southern Ohio in the U.S. Congress. You were honest to the people you represented, not a hack for the Democratic Party.

Come to the table without the new $2.8 billion K-12 funding plan.

Come to the table with real, achievable budget numbers.

Come to the table with a priority of economic development, innovation and R&D.

Speaker Budish. Please stay out of the way.

President Harris. We need you to forgive and forget the political rat that the Democrats gave to you and your members.

Come to the table with an understanding of what is really needed to rebuild Ohio’s economy and job-base. The evidence is all there and taxes are not the whole ball of wax. We need a complete, comprehensive plan that includes tax structure, public and private R&D and infrastructure.

Remember, 2010 is coming fast.

Am I Missing Something?