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Monday, June 6, 2011

Ohio Congressional Members Can't Explain State Budget

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM

But it's really not their fault. We'll explain.


When Ohio Governor John Kasich was in the glory days, back when his approval ratings climbed up above 40%, he explained that the Buckeye State was in dire straights: Ohio was facing an $8 billion budget shortfall. It would take deft maneuvering, wide-ranging cuts, and wise management to get Ohio out of a financial sinkhole.

(This would be a good time to remind everyone that there never really was an $8 billion deficit. It was actually closer to $6 billion.)

Then Kasich unsheathed Ohio's two-year budget which, with the help of an abracadabra and some Gob Bluth slight of hand, not only covered the alleged $8 billion shortfall, but managed to find enough money to cover $5 billion in new spending. Huh? Exactly. Not even fellow Ohio GOP members can explain how that math adds up. It's all 2+2=5 (or in this case, 8+5=0) to them.

Via the Cincy Enquirer:

"That's a darn good question I'm not sure I can answer," state Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, said of the budget's adding-while-subtracting dynamics. "What I've seen, heard or been told isn't all that clear. I don't completely comprehend it."


Similarly, state Rep. Denise Driehaus, D-West Price Hill, says weeks after the House passed the budget, she is "still scratching my head trying to make sense" of it.

"There is no transparency — there's only confusion, a lot of confusion," Driehaus said.

When state budget director Tim Keen appeared in front of the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee, Driehaus asked to see a flow chart explaining how the almost $8 billion projected shortfall was erased even as proposed spending during the next two fiscal years rose by $5 billion.

"I'm still waiting for it," Driehaus said last week. "We're being told we're looking at the numbers wrong. But I've yet to see anything explaining why the way they're looking at the numbers is right."

If they can't begin to understand or explain the budget, how can Joe Public?

Both sides seem to have an argument, usually involving "creative accounting," pinning the blame on the other for the incongruous numbers facing the state in Kasich's budget. Basically, it's like your sophomore year of college when your friend met that one girl, and she said those bumps he noticed were just razor burns, except they weren't, and he ended up at the school clinic with an economy-sized pack of penicillin, and then she said she never had those bumps until after he started dating her.

You can read all about that here along with the rest of the nitty-gritty on the state's $55.7 billion two-year budget. Or, ya know, you can type "cute cats" into Google.

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