From the monthly archives: February 2013

John Kasich loves to talk about his “Jobs Budgets”.   But when you really look at the numbers, it’s hard not to see the real goal:  the elimination of union jobs in Ohio.   Corrections is one of the largest and most heavily unionized areas of state government, and these workers appear to be one of his primary targets.

Kasich’s first budget cut nearly $129 Million from the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) and the Department of Youth Services (DYS).  He also sold one state facility, the Lake Erie Correctional Institution, to private prison operator Corrections Corporation of America and privatized the [...]

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Some week, huh?  Pope-emeritus  Benedict is gone as the first top prelate to retire since 1415.  Chuck Hagel is confirmed as the first defense nominee to be filibustered.  And Dennis Rodman  is the first NBA retiree to be dribbling around North Korea to teach the kids some basketball skills.

The only business-as-usual activity was Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s vote against shutting down the filibuster.  Once again, Portman demonstrated that regardless of the generous references here and there  he is a right-leaning centrist,  he continues to vote on most occasions in the column that pleases the Republican fringe.

But the confirmation was [...]

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Governor’s faculty workload policy fails to address real higher ed problems
by Sara Kilpatrick

John Kasich doesn’t think professors work hard enough.  Don’t take my word for it; just look at the two budgets he has introduced since taking office.  In 2011, Kasich’s initial budget called for full-time faculty to teach one additional class every other year…with no end date.  The language was so ill-conceived and poorly crafted that it garnered support from no one, and was quickly removed in the Ohio House.  But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  In his latest budget, Kasich included [...]

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The following letter was sent to State Rep Gerald Stebelton, Chairman of the House Education Committee today.   The author kindly allowed us to reprint a slightly edited version of it here at Plunderbund.

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Dear Representative Stebelton,

I am writing today partially because of your quote in today’s Dispatch where there was a discussion in which a group known as “Students First” claimed that a master’s degree mattered very little in the quality of instruction students receive and that after five years of teaching experience, except for high-level science and math, such experience in the classroom made little difference in the quality [...]

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State Senator Kris Jordan recently introduced a bill  (SB 36) that would make it a crime in Ohio for a police officer to enforce any new federal firearm registration law.   Under the bill, any local, state or federal law enforcement agent found to be enforcing a federal law about gun registrations in Ohio would be guilty of a first degree felony, putting them in the same category as major drug traffickers and facing a prison sentence from three to eleven years.

You don’t need to be a constitutional scholar to know that a state can’t pass a law trumping federal law.  But [...]

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The White House put out a fact sheet today highlighting the impacts of sequester-related spending cuts on Ohio.   The cuts are broad and deep and cover everything from school funding to law enforcement.   A sudden, dramatic and unfocused reduction in federal funds to Ohio would have a devastating impact on budgets, jobs and the economy.

Ohio could lose $25.1 million for education, $22 million for Children with Disabilities, nearly $1.8 Million in funding for job assistance, $6.8 Million in environmental funding and nearly a million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.  Ohio-based Department of Defense employees could see $161.4 million in lost pay.  Law enforcement [...]

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As long as two people love each other, I don’t think God cares whether they both have the same “hoo-hoo” or “ha-ha.” – Marge Simpson

Same-sex marriage is likely to be on the ballot again in Ohio.  FreedomOhio, a group pushing to repeal the 2004 Amendment to the Ohio Constitution that prohibited same-sex marriage, claim that they are well on their way to putting the issue on the 2013 ballot.   This is good news – momentum is clearly on the side of the proponents of marriage equality, and by adding Greg Schultz, former director of President Barack Obama’s Ohio re-election campaign, [...]

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The results of a surprise inspection of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution (LECI) were released yesterday and they provide further evidence of what we already knew:  Kasich’s decision to sell the facility to private prison operator CCA  (the former employer of Kasich’s Corrections Director) was an amazingly bad idea.

Privatization of the facility under Corrections Corporation of America has lead to serious violations, safety issues for inmates and employees, an increase in drug use and crime in and around the prison and a dramatic increase in calls to local law enforcement.  We’ve discussed the big problems again and again here at Plunderbund.

According to the [...]

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Kasich’s tax hike–in coordination with similar schemes in Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and basically every GOP-controlled state–is clearly part of a national plug-and-play strategy led by ALEC, based on a failed Missouri idea.

Each year since 2007, ALEC has published Rich States, Poor States by (no joke) Arthur Laffer.  It’s a right-wing guide to state awesomeness (not including per capita income), defined as low per capita tax revenues.  It doesn’t include in its equation tourism taxes or severance taxes, so it (of course) ranks oil-rich states with lots of tourism as being the most efficient states.  It then [...]

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Back in September, 2011 the Kasich team was already developing talking points for their plan to “leverage” the Ohio Turnpike’s revenue stream into a one-time pot of money for Kasich to fund his pet transportation projects.

We recently obtained a copy of the internal talking points memo (posted in full below) that provides ODOT and Turnpike representatives with a standard answer to the question “Why are you looking at this option now?”

As you may know, Ohio is facing a budget and infrastructure crisis. With the current budget shortfalls and decreases in the amount of gas tax revenues, future investments for [...]

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The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell has closed his investigation “after Elam agreed to pay costs for his initial letter to the public and sent out a new one saying some of his statements were ‘not appropriate.’”

We are glad to see this come to a just end.  But the damage has been done.  School officials throughout the state will think twice before criticizing Kasich’s school funding plan – as even the most benign criticism could be interpreted as “political” and lead to a criminal investigation.  It’s called “chilling” of speech, and the fact that this [...]

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