Monday, May 9, 2011
(VIDEO: JUDGE TARYN HEATH ON "UNFUNDED MANDATES") WHEN THEY RUN FOR OFFICE, INCUMBENT STATE LEGISLATORS NEVER TALK ABOUT THEIR FAILURE TO DEAL WITH UNFUNDED STATE MANDATES. ESPCIALLY OELSLAGER & SCHURING, WHO BETWEEN THEM HAVE ABOUT 50 LEGISLATIVE YEARS IN THE OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
One of the most galling things to the Stark County Political Report for years has been the phenomenon where by the Ohio General Assembly (OGA) force tax increases to the local level (townships, villages, cities, counties, libraries, boards of education and the like) via mandating that certain functions be done without providing the money to pay for the performance of the function.
One might think that the fact that state Senator Scott Oelslager and state Representative Kirk Schuring have been staying in the OGA for nearly 50 years despite term limits (which they supported) by playing a "guaranteed a seat" version of musical chairs would pay off for Stark County.
Well, when it comes to stopping the unfunded state mandates, it has not.
On April 22nd the Stark County commissioners called the Stark County delegation to the OGA to come to the commissioners' meeting room to hear county grievances against the state of Ohio on the issue.
A video below gives a sampling of county office holder frustration with what Ohio does to local government in terms of undermining the fiscal integrity of local units of government.
The Heath recitation of a few unfunded mandates is truly "the tip of the 'unfunded mandate' iceberg." One of the most affected local governments on this score is each and every one of Stark County's 17 school districts.
Ever heard of a school levy folks? A large part of the blame lies at the feet of Oelslager, Schuring, Slesnick and Hagan (and her predecessor which, of course, includes her father).
It is time that Stark County taxpayers wake up and realize that the likes of Oelslager (R-Plain), Schuring (R-Jackson), Slesnick (D-Canton) and Hagan (R-Marlboro who did not even show up on the 22nd) are forcing a variety of local government units to raise taxes in one form or another at the local level in order to implement state mandates that are unfunded by state government.
If Oelslager and Schuring (being the veteran legislators they are and having a political party identity with the governor) had any imaginative legislative bones in their bodies, they would prevail on Governor Kasich to do what Governor Rick Perry of Texas has done: create "a Task Force on Unfunded Mandates ... to identify burdensome, unfunded mandates that have been passed down to local governments." (The Brownsville Herald, May 7, 2011).
But do not hold your breath for this duo to act. Both are just trying to make it through to retirement with the fat state pensions.
The SCPR will take Heath's list of unfunded mandates delivered en masse face-to-face to Oelslager, Schuring and Slesnick and the April 22 meeting and be reporting to the readers of The Report whether or not (let's say in six months) the legislators have made any headway on the request by county officials that the Stark County delegation get something done to scale back the number of unfunded state mandates.
Here is the Heath (Judge Taryn Heath, Stark County Court of Common Pleas - General Division) video.