Thursday, June 9, 2011

What has your legislature done for you lately?


The budget approved by the Senate:
  • Requires new casinos to pay the Commercial Activity Tax on all revenue received, not just after winnings are paid out.
  • Requires the state to sell six adult and youth detention prisons to private operators who, in some cases, would contract with the state to house prisoners.
  • Eliminates, beginning in 2013, the estate tax, from which 80 percent of revenue goes to local governments.
  • Authorizes the governor to pursue a long-term lease of the Ohio Turnpike by a private operator, but requires lawmakers' approval of the terms.
  • Raises the threshold at which government must pay union-scale wages on public projects from the current $78,000 to $125,000 in 2012, $200,000 in 2013, and $250,000 in 2014.
  • Allows counties and universities to sell buildings to private owners and lease them back.
  • Does not include House-passed language introducing merit-pay system for teachers. Similar language is in the Senate Bill 5 collective-bargaining law.
  • Eases restrictions on the expansion of charter schools in the state, although not to the extent proposed by the House.
  • Provides no funding for enforcement of smoking in indoor public places and phases out support for the Quit Line."

To read a summary of the final vote and quotes from lawmakers, see this news article in the Toledo Blade.

What really got me was all their talk of what the legacy of this budget will be. I'm not a legislator, but I already know enough about budgets to know that anyone who thinks most of these things are good ideas is an idiot. You are an idiot when you think that tearing down infrastructure, like education, healthcare, safety net services, and other basics, will lead to any sort of progress (besides lining the pockets of you & your fat cat friends).

For more, please see Ohio Budget Watch.

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