How big is the budget hole anyways, Act 2

This afternoon our friends over at Innovation Ohio released a report that took a look at the real budget hole and compared it to the $8 billion dollar number that Governor Kasich and Republicans are so found of recalling. And, what would you know, but Innovation Ohio’s analysis shows that the hole was no were near $8 billion and that in reality it was closer to $5 billion.

According to OBM and LSC budget documents, the assumptions used by then-Auditor (now Lt. Governor) Mary Taylor and her Senior Policy Advisor (now OBM Director) Tim Keen in 2009 to project an $8 billion hole in the FY2012-13 budget have proven to be untrue. If these assumptions are revised to reflect what is actually in the Kasich administration’s proposed budget, the alleged $8 billion hole is now $5.182 billion.   At the very least, Gov. Kasich and his legislative allies should stop evoking an imaginary $8 billion deficit figure they now know to be inaccurate.

I would highly recommend reading the entire report, it isn’t all that long compared to reports like these normally and it is fascinating. Innovation Ohio does a great job looking at the three assumptions Taylor and Keen made in 2009 to come up with an $8 billion figure and showed how they all ended up being wrong. Personally, I’m not all that surprised that the assumptions were wrong, I’m just more concerned that those two people who got it wrong last year are now in control of the state’s finances for the next four years.

Not only did Innovation Ohio come out with data today debunking the administrations claims but Sen. Tim Grendell, who I’m starting to really dig, also was quoted saying that he believed the hole was not $8 billion but closer to $6 billion. To review that makes Sen. Grendell opposing the Governor’s budget hole projections and opposing the Governor’s projections for the true cost of the privatization of the liquor business in Ohio.

Senator, if I could offer you one piece of advise, go ask Sen. Seitz how standing in opposition to the Governor worked out for him in the SB 5 debate. Not too well I would say.

Now, some people who don’t understand how the world works will tell you that it isn’t worth bickering over $3 billion. Those people don’t know what they are talking about. Remember, everything that this administration has done in the last five months has been predicated on the fact that this state is facing an $8 billion budget hole. Forget that the administration went out of its way to make the hole bigger by extending income tax cuts, what is important is that the deep cuts made to local governments and public education were made because we didn’t have the money to put towards them. Turns out that was a lie and the administration simply had to keep pretending their was a $8 billion hole or otherwise those cuts and the draconian measures in SB 5 would not make any fiscal sense.

Pushing dramatic cuts to local governments and public education, breaking the backs of public unions, and privatizing everything insight only works if the hole is $8 billion. If the hole really isn’t $8 billion than those actions are simply radical Republican policy points being enacted based on a lie.


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