House R’s prepare to introduce Sub-Bill, don’t expect tough decisions made


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You can’t polish a turd.

I’m sorry to be so crass, but that is pretty much my feeling heading into tomorrow’s finance committee hearing.

House Republicans are going to reveal their substitute version of the budget tomorrow and with over 1,000 amendments submitted it is bound to have plenty of changes in it. We have covered a lot of the proposed changes ranging from fiddling with the school funding formula, restoring funding to the soil and water districts, to increasing funding for the consumer’s council, the list goes on and on. We have no reason to believe though that the changes supported by Republicans will change the anti-worker, anti-teacher, and anti-middle class policies put forth by Governor Kasich in the original version of this bill.

When the Governor introduced this budget it was clear that he intended to use it as a vehicle to push through major ideological changes.  Those changes would normally require intensive debate by themselves, but are now being bundled into a giant bill representing one party’s entire legislative agenda. Changes will be made, but don’t expect them to be earth shattering.

Yes, the substitute bill will probably include changes to the school funding formula, but those changes will come at the expense of lower property wealth districts who can afford it the least.

Yes, Republicans will include some language blunting the impact of the severe cuts to local governments, but most likely they will just extend the phase out of the TPP tax as compared to the Governor’s recommendation.

Yes, the Republicans on the committee will support some changes made to the expanded authority given to the Director of OBM in the as introduced version, but because House Republicans are cut from the same cloth as this Governor, don’t expect the changes to expose the unheralded power grab that this move is.

What is most disappointing is that going into this budget process anyone that was serious about balancing the budget conceded that cuts were going to have to be made but that revenue was going to have to be generated too.  Instead, this Governor decided to balance the budget on the backs of the least well-off in this state by slashing funding for education and local governments, relying on one time funds from the sale of state assets, all while asking the most well-off to sacrifice less. In no way can anyone look at this budget and say that shared sacrifice is what balances this budget.

Tomorrow when House Republicans are too busy giving each other high-fives for a job well done, remember that nothing has changed.  I really hope I’m wrong, and if I am, I will eat my shoe, but sadly I think I’m probably right.

 

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