Questions on Governor’s Office Budget


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As previously noted, the Governor’s Office will be testifying in the House Finance Agriculture and Natural Resources (go figure) subcommittee today at 1p.m. (room 018) about its budget. Here is a link to the Legislative Services Commission Red Book outlining the budget proposal, which shows a slight decrease in funding required compared to Fiscal Year 2011. We have a few questions we’d ask if we were on the committee, including:

The Red Book indicates it costs approximately $250,000 a year to maintain an office and staff in Washington, DC to lobby federal officials on behalf of Ohio. You indicate you do not intend to maintain this presence and are cancelling the lease on the office, yet your federal lobbying costs only drop by $181,000. How are you spending the additional $69,000?

A related question: why do you think it’s a good idea to get rid of the DC office when the federal government is considering draconian budget cuts that could impact Ohio? Recently, a short-term budget extender saw the cancellation of the Joint Strike Fighter secondary engine, resulting in the loss of 1,100 jobs at GE outside of Cincinnati. Shouldn’t the Governor weigh in on behalf of those Ohio jobs? Similarly, federal transportation legislation that is up for reauthorization in Congress; as a donor state, Ohio sends more gas tax revenue than it gets back from federal transportation funding formulas. How will your administration weigh in without a presence in DC to ensure Ohio taxpayers get a fair deal?

Lastly, this phone list, released in early February, indicates your office has 49 staff members, not counting the Governor. Since then, we’ve heard announcements about your new Director of 21st Century Education and Health Transformation, as well as the hiring of a Deputy Press Secretary. So, if you are at 52 staff, why does the LSC Red Book only state that your budget funds 40 staff? Are the other staff salaries covered by other state agencies? Doesn’t this misrepresent your office costs as lower than they truly are?

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