Dennis Willard, Columbus Bureau Chief, of the Akron Beacon Journal (remember - The Canton Repository - [Stark County's only countywide newspaper] has no political reporter in Columbus) wrote an interesting piece about how politicized Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor has become (or, more likely, has always been) a highly partisan politician even though she has a responsibility to be a "rule of law" person as a state government administrator.
It is especially interesting when an "accountability/auditing" person is primarily a political partisan. Because Ohio Republicans are nearly shut out of state government in Ohio these days, the Ohio Republican Party (OPR) is using her (though she likely is fully complicit) as a point person to oppose the Strickland administration in any way she can for any political gain she can make for the OPR.
The flap that Willard writes about is Taylor's prediction (looking into a "red" tinted crystal ball). Before the 2010 - 2011 budget has been dealt with, Taylor is saying that there will be an $8 billion shortfall in the 2012 - 2013 budget.
Strickland through his political mouthpiece (Democratic state party chair Chris Refern) says that Taylor and House Republicans are set to be Ohio's version of the "Just Say No Republicans" (i.e. refuse the stimulus money [including the jobs that the money will create] and, by the way, cut taxes),
Willard points out that "just say no" (or, if you will, play the role of backbenchers) will work with isolated Republicans like Taylor and Ohio House Republicans but not likely with Ohio Senate Republicans. Unlike minority Republican members of the House, "in the majority" Republican state senators actually have a state constitutional responsibility, working with the governor and majority Democrats in the House, to provide Ohio with a balanced budget.
This is where Stark County comes in.
Undoubtedly, Stark Countians Scott Oelslager (Republican - Jackson) and Todd Snitchler (Republican - Lake) will toe the party line in the Ohio House Republican caucus.
Both Oelslager and Snitchler like to insinuate that they seek opportunities to be bipartisan. But the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) sees very little evidence to support either's claim.
Oelslager has done a little bit along bipartisan lines over his 20+ years in the Ohio General Assembly. While Snitchler is in his first term, there is no "real" evidence (only rhetoric) that he will shake free of Ohio minority leader Billy Batchelder and do what is good for Ohio and Stark County over his political party.
If you take his performance at Matt Patrick's and Jason Wise's highly partisan ditty (with denials of partisanship galore - "thou protest too much") at Tax Day, Tea Day - Canton as any indication where Snitchler is on the right wing continuum, it is beginning to appear to The Report that Snitchler is pretty much a carbon copy of his predecessor John Hagan except he may be a little smarter. He should be. After all he is a lawyer who should have superior analytical skills.
Maybe in time Stark Countians will realize that Todd Snitchler is not one wit sharper than Hagan, just more polished. And perhaps even worse on policy matters.
State Senator Kirk Schuring is the local politician to watch on the budget.
Schuring keeps telling yours truly that he is "no cookie cutter Republican."
Well, according to Willard, his vote on the Strickland budget will be "come to Jesus" time for the good senator and his colleagues in the Ohio senate.
We shall see.
Watch Ohio Auditor "Mary Taylor" (from the nearby City of Green - Summit County) speak for herself in the accompanying video snippet from the full piece produced by the Ohio Republicans.
Be sure to note the "great" Ohio economy that Taylor refers to in the video that apparently only a blindly partisan Republican such as Mary can see as having come from Republican one-party-rule for the better part of 20 years in the pre-Strickland political era of Ohio.
How did the rest of us miss the booming Ohio economy that Taylor thinks came out of the Voinovich and Taft administrations and the Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly?