At least the governor will get time to study the details of the just passed $50.5-billion, two-year state
After passing the 4,000-page spending plan Monday, the House and Senate voted to extend the temporary
budget through Wednesday to give Gov. Ted Strickland a chance to go through it.
That’s good, said State Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, who complained that the final budget was
rushed through the House and Senate on its way to the governor. The governor, he noted, does have the
power to veto individual line items in the budget.
He had expected House Speaker Armond Budish to give members a few hours to look through the legislation,
which had just emerged from the House-Senate conference committee. Instead the bill was on the floor
being debated within an hour.
"It was fundamentally impossible for any member of the House to read the budget bill," he said.
And that could lead to regrets later. "There’s no doubt that when government does something this big
this fast and not in public… clearly there will be mistakes, and problems that come to light over the
next days, weeks and months," Gardner said.
Gardner voted "no" on the budget.
Even if he’d had more time to study the bill "I’m certain I would have come to the same
conclusion," he said. "This budget was going to be a very tough vote regardless."
He had many misgivings about the budget.
While Strickland and House Democrats "proclaimed we have a new constitutional school funding
system," he said, the reality is the budget includes "significant new cuts in funding and
hundreds of millions in new unfunded state mandates and prospects for even bigger cuts in two
The bill will mean schools will have to seek more money from local taxpayers, he said. "That’s
troubling to me."
Funding to replace the personal tangible tax that has been phased out has been made permanent.
"That’s a positive thing that the Senate has helped to achieve," he said.
Also, though Strickland’s proposed $227 million in cuts to Ohio’s public library were reduced, libraries
will still have to take an $84 million cut, on top of a 20 percent already in place.
Library advocates, he said, made their voices heard.
Gardner was also disappointed in the cuts to higher education and lifting of the tuition cap. Still,
Gardner said, Ohio has done a "better job" holding down tuition over the last four years than
Gardner also criticized what he called the virtual "abolishing of marketing and tourism"
efforts in the state. Michigan, which has an even worse economy, spends twice as much. Such efforts help
to create job and bring people into the state.
State Senator Mark Wagoner, R-Ottawa Hills, who served on the conference committee, voted in favor of the
budget. He was unavailable for comment this morning.