Ashford: Whose side is Gov. Kasich on?Written by Michael Ashford | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is attacking hard-working Ohioans and the middle class of Ohio. The state budget he proposed, and the version approved by majority Republicans both in my committee, House Finance & Appropriations, and on the House floor is balanced on the backs of our citizens.
The budget being considered now calls for spending $5.5 billion more than the last biennial budget. That’s a huge spending increase, yet the governor wants significant cuts to public universities, K-12 education, social services, mental health, libraries and seniors. Also, local government funds are slashed which will affect vital services such as police and fire protection, snow removal and road improvements.
Gov. Kasich’s budget attacks the one advocacy group that is in place to protect Ohio’s citizens from high utility bills. In 1975, Ohio Consumers Council (OCC) was established as a legal advocate to protect more than 4.5 million homeowners in Ohio against high utility bills (gas, electric, water and communications). Last year alone, the OCC challenged and won approximately 300 cases of illegal rate increases in Ohio. In the last budget, the OCC annual budget was approximately $8 million to fight on behalf of homeowners in Ohio. The proposed OCC 2012-2013 budget is $4 million. That’s right, a 50 percent reduction and the reduction/savings goes back to the utility companies, not the consumers.
The Governor’s office took a tiny 1.9 percent reduction while all state agencies will receive an average reduction of 40 percent in their budgets.
During the budget talks, the buzzword was “privatization.” The state will sell off five state prisons for $200 million which are appraised at $1 billion not counting the inventory of the prisons. Several local agencies are taking a cut in this budget. Listed below are several agencies that will receive significant decreases in state funding:
- Mental health: 40 percent reduction
- Area Office on Aging: provides critical programs for the elderly. Faces a 39 percent reduction
- PASSPORT Program, which meets the needs of the most vulnerable seniors, faces a 50 percent reduction
- Public libraries: just in Lucas County, there is a possible loss of $1 million
- TARTA, which provides public transportation, faces a 39 percent reduction
- Toledo Public Schools faces a reduction of $6 billion to $8 billion
- City of Toledo faces up to an $8 million dollar reduction
- Food Banks face a 14 percent reduction (while need continues to grow)
This 2012-13 budget was balanced on the backs of the state’s most vulnerable and the middle class: teachers, bus-drivers, police, fire, garbage workers, highway patrol, prison guards, teacher’s aides, hospital workers, county workers, city workers, child care counselors and college instructors.
It’s time to ask yourself: Whose side is this governor on?
Michael Ashford (D) is State Representative for Ohio House District 48. Call his office at Phone: (614) 466-1401 or email him at email@example.com.