The SCPR initiated this series on April 16th with a blog detailing the background of Democratic candidate Thomas West and Republican Dan McMasters.
A long ways off from the general election date of November 8th.
So why so early?
For Stark Countians including those who make up the 49th Ohio House District, there are many, many issues at Ohio's state level of government that impact citizen life and voters are entitled to know where each candidate stands on those many issues.
Republican Dan McMasters is willing to share his views on those issues with 49th District voters in a "no holds barred SCPR interview." Democrat Thomas West is not.
Initially, West agreed but then backed off his original commitment.
Bottom line is that West is a Democrat in a highly Democrat indexed district and is relying on such to carry him to victory in November rather than provide voters with detailed and comprehensive information on his issue positions and thereby equip voters to make fully informed decision.
Apparently, Candidate West is content with the cursory League of Women Voters (LWV)/The Repository Forum (mostly, the work of the LWV) of March 10, 2016.
In the light of West's refusal to provide in-depth answers which 49th District voters can access both now and right before they vote, the SCPR links and will continue to link these one/two minute videotaped responses to some pretty complicated issues posed at the LWV forum.
- Opening Statements
- Question: Would you support a reduction in the State of Ohio Income Tax rate?
- Question: Do you support Common Core?
- Question: Do you support Ohio allowing Medical Marijuana?
- Question: Does the State of Ohio have a role in Women's reproductive health decisions?
- Question: Position on local government fund cuts.
- Question: What should Ohio be doing to solve Ohio's/Stark County's Heroin abuse problem?
- Closing Statements
When the partisan divide is in your favor, don't muck it up with a thoughtful discussion of Ohio's critical issues and thereby possibly jeopardize what appears to be certain success has to be West's posture, no?
The SCPR: "Don't count on West doing anything but playing it safe."
One might think that McMasters has nothing to loose in being totally forthcoming with his responses to SCPR posed questions.
And indeed he doesn't.
But he may in the course of being an authentic politician (saying what he means, meaning what he says) earn the respect of 49th District voters and thereby get a foothold from which to spring the surprise of the 2016 general election.
In this second segment (date: April 27th) of the McMasters interviews, he addressed the issue of local government funding cuts that began in earnest after Republican governor John Kasich's (in concert with the supermajority Republican Ohio General Assembly) took office on January 1, 2011.
Here is what has happened to Stark's villages, cities and townships starting with the baseline year of 2010 (the year before Kasich took office) and ending the last full year of budgeting in 2015.
On "Local Government Funding (LGF)" alone, Stark County has lost $26,667,508.
Canton lost $8,513,499 BUT when Canton's share of Casino revenues to Ohio's eight largest cities is factored in Canton in reality lost $1,469.585.
Ditto for Stark County government as an entity.
The Stark County treasury lost $9,040,309 for the period 2011 through 2015 BUT when the county government's share of Casino revenues is figured in the loss of State of Ohio funding i $1,996,395.
The factoring in of Casino revenues pared the total Stark County political subdivision loss of Ohio revenue support from $26,667,508 to $12,579,680.
Outside of Canton City and Stark County government, there was NO Casino OFFSET to the townships, villages and cities of Stark County.
Collectively, the "outside of Canton City and Stark County government" units of government bore the brunt of Ohio's drastic cuts in local government funding."
In the 49th House District, Massillon lost nearly $1.3M uncompensated local government funding.
Candidate McMasters says he was astonished when the draconian cuts were made (2011 and 2012, state budget biennium) but on reflection sees a silver lining for the cut to the bone entities in that go forward revenues generated by Stark's local government entities will not be filtered through Columbus with the administrative rake off or other diversions of funds that takes place at the state level.
There is legislation in place (HB 508 introduced by Democratic members of the Ohio House) to siphon off some $25 million from the $2B plus "rainy day" fund that Ohio now has in place.
One of the co-sponsors is current 49th House District representative Stephen Slesnick who is term limited out of the Ohio House as of December of this year.
If passed, which is highly unlikely given that it is a Democratic plan offered in the Republican supermajority controlled Ohio General Assembly, Massillon stands to get $2.9 million whereas Canton is not included in the listing of Ohio local governments to benefit.
McMasters viewed HB 508 as being a Democratic gimmick in an election.
However, if elected he says that he willing to consider looking at measures designed to help financially distressed local governments not only in the 49th but also for all of Stark County.
He says he is far better placed to actually get something done for Canton, Massillon and other entities in the 49th than his Democratic opponent Thomas West is merely because he will be part of a Republican supermajority controlling the Ohio House.
Here is the complete video interview of 49th Ohio House District candidate Dan McMasters on the issue of State of Ohio local government funding.