We knew that this State budget was going to be such a big story that we jumped at the opportunity to form our sibling site, Ohio Budget Watch, which is likely to go on a hiatus until the next budget cycle.   Kasich’s budget didn’t disappoint.  There were so many crazy proposals and changes, it’s hard to keep up with them all. 

Obviously, if you’re interested in doing your own comparison, the most comprehensive document is the Legislative Service Commission’s “Comparison Document” that breaks it down by agency what the differences has been between the Governor’s initial proposal, the House version, the Senate version, and now House-Senate conference committee version, which passed the Ohio Senate today at a 22-11 vote (Sen. Scott Oeslager was the sole Republican to break party ranks in the budget.  He said he felt that the merit pay provision still mirrored SB 5 too much, and for consistency sake, he had to vote against the budget just as he did SB 5.)  Whereas Governor Strickland’s first budget passed with only one no vote, John Kasich has the pleasure of having his first budget pass over bipartisan opposition.

We cannot possible cover every topic or change, and the Ohio newspapers have covered some of the major ones such as the final version did not contain 2% pension cost shift, the permitting the sale of higher alcohol content beer, or the proposed cut to legislators’ salaries.

Here’s some of the changes the media didn’t pick up on:

Charter universities.  Boy, we’ve read or seen virtually nothing about this idea since Kasich introduced it back in February.  So does Kasich’s budget permit Ohio’s universities to become charter universities exempt from all sorts of collective bargaining rights, regulations, etc.?  Yes, but see page 20.  But the House, Senate, and the Conference Committee inserted language that stated that the Chancellor of the Board of Regents cannot designate any university or college as a charter university/college until the General Assembly passes legislation establishing a charter university designation process.

Tax cuts.  In 2005, Governor Taft and the GOP-led legislature introduced massive tax breaks, but delayed their implementation until future budgets.  The result was a massive, growing structural deficit that Governor Strickland had to address each budget.  The phony $8 billion deficit Kasich is still disingenuously claiming his budget “solves” can be attributed to the Great Recession and the habit of the Ohio GOP passing tax cuts today, with kicking the can down the road on how to pay for them into the next budget when they actually take affect.

Much in the media has been made about the fact that the conference committee rushed into the report Kasich’s InvestOhio, Mark Kvamme’s latest hair-brained capital gains tax cut scheme that is similar to another half-baked idea that Kasich threw out  a few weeks in March after he introduced his budget… the idea got less than rave reviews from the cuts intended beneficiaries.

But do you know what InvestOhio and  the estate tax repeal have in common?  Just like the 2005 tax reforms, it’s passed today, but doesn’t start to have a fiscal impact until the next budget.  When Kasich suggests this budget removes Ohio from any structural deficit, he has to resort to the “magic revenue fairy” to claim that these tax cuts aren’t going to blow a hole in the next budget when they take affect.  Promise the cut today, give the voters the bill tomorrow.  That’s the Ohio GOP playbook on tax cuts.

The Senate version of the budget called for the creation of a legislative commission to examine Ohio’s $7 billion in targeted tax cuts commonly known as “tax expenditures.”  The House-Senate conference committee, naturally, got rid of this provision.

Civil service changes.  Except for some veteran-related provisions that were already rejected by the Senate, Governor Kasich’s changes to Ohio’s civil service protections remained largely intact.

Charter schools right to unused real property owned by public schools.  As BudgetWatch noted in its clips, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week that the Senate’s version of the budget contained a provision that forced school districts to lease unused real property to top 50% performing school districts for $1.  That provision lead school districts, like the Cincinnati Public School District, to create “specialty schools” they could dedicate to their property to avoid losing use of the property at an enormous waste.  The House-Senate conference committee changes the provision and ties the lease to “fair market value.”

Turnpike privatization.  The initial Kasich budget contained language that empowered Kasich’s OBM Director Tim Keen to privatize any government function.  The House limited that to just the Ohio Turnpike.  The conference committee, according to the Plain Dealer, limited even further mandating that the Administration cannot even solicit bids for the Turnpike until it receives further legislative approval.

Lottery privatization.  It’s out.  One reason BudgetWatch points out is that it was patently unconstitutional.  So, it’s entirely possible that Kasich’s former aides turned uber-lobbyists convinced Mary Taylor to do a performance audit on the Ohio Lottery Commission to be the launching pad of an effort to push for privatization, only to find out a year later it’s entirely unconstitutional…  Wow.

The Workers Compensation Council is history.  Speaker Bill Batchelder’s pet project, that wasteful agency known as the Workers Compensation Council is officially history as the conference report kept the Senate’s repeal of the unstaffed agency that Kasich wanted to increase the funding.

Minimum wage changes.  I haven’t been able to get solid confirmation, but it appears that the Senate’s changes to Ohio’s minimum wage laws were not removed from the House-Senate conference committee.  For all the talk about budgetary maneuvers to frustrate voters’ will in the pending SB 5 referendum, it’s remarkable that not a single mainstream media outlet outside of GONGWER has even mentioned that the State budget may change Ohio’s minimum wage laws.

Yes, the Conference Report still contains the Senate’s ban on abortion services being provided at public hospitals.   So if you’re a pro-lifer  or a dying rich person, you have a lot to like in this budget.  We’re still privatizing five prisons and offering the DYS facility in Scioto County for sale to private prisons.  We’re still selling the State’s liquor profits to fund JobsOhio in a transaction that most think is a bad deal for the State of Ohio for the revenue stream we lose as a result.

But if you’re an average Ohioan concerned about  Ohio’s economy, there’s not much to see here except one conservative special interest giveaway after another.  You almost wonder how a “Every Ohioan gets a free gun” didn’t manage to get into the budget.

On Friday, Kasich plans to throw him a celebration over the non-existent achievements he delusionally  believes his budget achieves.  It does not, as Kasich claims, prevent Ohio from having a structural deficit.  With over a $1 billion in one-time money followed by millions in tax cuts that have yet to be offset with spending cuts, the next Kasich budget is likely to have a structural deficit unless the economy is able to grow enough to replace that revenue.

It doesn’t resolve a $8 billion deficit, because it doesn’t exist.  But will Kasich thank Ted Strickland on Friday since it was the economic recovery that began when he was Governor and the nearly $1 billion in surplus his budget leaft for Kasich that amounts to half of how the deficit was resolved?

Kasich’s budget is a fiscally vampire that gets its fiscal health by draining money from local governments and schools.  It gives more money to predominately wealthy districts, while poorer districts bear the brunt of his budget in a perverse reverse Robin Hood.  It asks the middle class and working poor for enormous sacrifice to help those who can already help themselves.

The question is outside of his lobbyists, special interest groups, aides, and conservative politicians, who will be celebrating Kasich’s budget with him on Friday? (Besides the OhioHouse Democratic caucus?)  John Kasich can throw himself a party, but I won’t attend.

Someone has to work in order to pay the taxes necessary so Kasich can give corporate welfare queens like Diebold their government-subsidized housing.

Evangelize!
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  • http://motivatedinohio.com MotivatedinOhio

    Does anyone know if our Governor was in the state this past weekend?  If not, Did he go to the Koch Retreat, like Scott and Perry.  We know he is in with AFP, the Koch funded group.  Did he go to get more money?

  • Anonymous

    According to the Dispatch, he lamented he was unable to attend:
    http://blog.dispatch.com/dailybriefing/2011/06/kasich_dannon_western_ohio_coo.shtml

    Also today, the Republican Kasich told The Dispatch that he did not attend the billionaire Koch brothers’ private retreat for conservative leaders in Vail, Colo. over the weekend.
    “But I wish I could’ve,” Kasich said. “I couldn’t go…I don’t know if I was invited, but, I know those guys.”
    ….

    That’s not surprising giving the agendas of the Governors in Minnesota, Florida, and Ohio all seem to be virtually the same.

  • http://motivatedinohio.com MotivatedinOhio

    Thanks!  I was wondering.  

  • Anonymous

    FYI, we should talk. There might be an argument for keeping the Budget Watch site going after the budget passes. After all, they get two years to spend the money and we should make sure they don’t waste it and get results. I’d also like to have my life back, so needless to say, I’m undecided.

  • Anonymous

    You keep using that word unprecedented. You obviously don’t know that it means. The Kasich budget leaves a projected defict well over a couple billion unless the economy grows to replace the one time money from his privatization schemes and the millions in unpaid for yet tax cuts that take effect immediately before the budget expires.

    There was virtually nothing unprecedented in this budget but the theft of the State of money for cities and schools.

    I’ll give you crazy, but there’s nothing in this budget that is a job creator.

  • http://motivatedinohio.com MotivatedinOhio

    Now that we have the signatures, wait until Koch funded Big Money starts flowing freely into Ohio, in order to convince Ohioans that their neighbor  the Teacher, Firefighter or Policeman is the enemy.  

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    you got it— but people still dont get he is the enemy.

  • http://motivatedinohio.com MotivatedinOhio

    People who work for a living have been under attack by the GOP for quite a while. Kasich is just the latest Koch ho.  There will be really big money thrown into the state in order to persuade the impressionable.  We need to keep working now!  Get the word out before the AFP, Koch Brothers scam can even think about talking.  Right now the Tea Party is dying here.  Let’s get Kasich’s numbers down even farther.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Isnt there also a part in here where hes asked for millions of dollars to be given to businesses
    who bid on contracts and loose the bids. Cant this be looked at as buying a bid from a business — you know hes gonna say its an incentive to try again.
    Yes folks hes gonna pay a vendor ( business ) for failing to win a bid.
    I am so disgusted !!
    I say lets all start a business bid on every contract and see how much free money we can get !! we all know lowest gets the bid — get it ?
    How much more of my tax money is he gonna waste.
    Anyone watch public tvs coverage on the hb153 amendments ? pitiful! there is so much people dont know in this bill. Please dont let anyone say the Dems never proposed changes — they did — voted down over and over.
    And this bunch claims bi-partisian?  not that I could see.
    Nina Turners speech about the side tracked forgotten dreams was  good .( shes the one brought up the paying for a lost bid)
    Capri Carfaro brought out some good points. Tried to get healthcare workers rights to unionize–told personal story — was ridaculed by Seitzs.
    As good as Seitz and Grendell were to point out things about sb5– they backslid! both acted like  A**H***s….

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