Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Ohio’s Budget Mess

Over at Division of Labour, Bob Lawson shatters the claim of the Columbus Dispatch that the state of Ohio faces a "structural deficit":

Hogwash. There is nothing "structural" about Ohio’s fiscal mess. Put simply, this state has suffered through a string of governors and legislatures that spend money like drunken sailors on shore leave.

The state’s spending grew by 5.8 percent every year from 1992 to 2002. Lawson notes that, if that growth had been limited to the rate of personal income growth over the same period, we’d be looking at a budget surplus today.

Discussions - 2 Comments

...except sailors get drunk on their own money.

The 5.8 percent growth in spending during the period mentioned is high, but quite frankly, it is nothing compared to the $5 billion growth of GRF spending in the FY 04-05 budget. GRF spending 02-03 was 44 billion. The Ohio House ratcheted that figure up to 48 billion. The Senate (under the Leadership of Ashland’s own Chairman Bill Harris, future Senate President) upped that figure to $52 billion. The conference committee “cut to the bone” and brought the budget "back" to 49.5 billion.

Back to my point, GRF spending (which does not take into account bonded projects or the Capital Appropriations bill) increased by more than 10 percent. This is ridiculous. Ohio is the only state that is not really making an economic comeback, and the fault cannot be laid entirely at the decline in steel production or manufacturing. This is really important, given the current election stakes. Perhaps Ashland’s conservatives, if there are any left, should be talking about this, gathering some testicular fortitude and encouraging their elected officials to live by the ideals that the Center purports to embody…

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