Wednesday, May 11, 2011


On April 22, 2011 state Representative Kirk Schuring (along with state Rep. Stephen Slesnick and state Sen. Scott Oelslager) appeared at a Stark County commissioners' work session to field questions about unfunded state mandates, Senate Bill 5 curtailing public unions collective bargaining rights and cuts in state provided local government funding among other matters.

The SCPR's take on Schuring is that he consummately affable guy who has a captivating way about himself in enticing his Stark County constituents into believing that he is going to deliver for them in terms of state monies, policy changes, Ohio Revised Code revisions and authorizations and the like.

While he has delivered here and there over his going on 17 years in the Ohio House, then the Ohio Senate and then back to the House in overcoming Ohio's term limits law, The Report believes he (nor his musical chair pal Scott Oelslager) have't produced commensurate to their being long term members of the Ohio General Assembly.

Stark County local governments are desperately in need of a reprieve from the draconian cuts that Republican Governor John Kasich's executive budget (Budget) portends for Stark's cities, villages and townships.  But it appears that all Schuring has to offer in Kasich administration (Administration) talking points.

The primary talking point is that the Administration is providing tools to local governments to deal with the large cuts in state funding by changing Ohio law to allow for permissive and mandatory efficiencies in local government.  In the video of Schuring speaking at the commissioners' work session, he mouths the Kasich administration's only answer to the dramatic cuts in local government funding.

A significant provision of the Budget, according to the Ohio General Assembly's Legislative Service Commission (LSC), is authorizing boards of county commissioners to require the use of centralized support services by departments of county government.

While this change in Ohio law is needed and undoubtedly welcome, it pales hugely in offsetting the huge cuts that the same Budget document mandates for Stark County and its political subdivisions.

It appears to the SCPR that Schuring and his Republican Stark County colleagues (state Senator Scott Oelslager and state Rep. (the 50th) Christina Hagan) are powerless to mitigate the expected 50% local government cuts coming over the next two years. 

All they can offer is a Yogi Berra-esque "its not over until its over" hope and a prayer.  Schuring predicted on April 22nd that the cuts would be lessened by the time the House passed SB 153.

Well, Schuring should not give up his day job for fortune telling.  The fact of the matter is that SB 153 cuts on the date of passage (May 5th) were the same cuts (in terms of local government funding) that were on the table April 22nd.

Another disingenuous thing that Schuring brought up in the meeting with commissioners was assigning to those who oppose the cuts with an obligation to come up with a solution.  Simply unbelievable!  This man has been in Columbus for going on 17 years and this is the best he can do?

Kasich and the Republican controlled Legislature are running for cover under the umbrella of the national financial and economic calamity that have in process since 2007.  And they are correct and therefore entitled to a partial bye for the cuts they are making.

However, what they are not accounting for is the dramatic 20% plus drop in state revenues that Republicans visited on Ohio with year 2005 action which reduced Ohio's individual rates over 5 years, reconfigured the corporate tax structure by going to a "commercial activities tax" (CAT) and concomitantly phasing out the tangible personal property tax (TTP).

Here is a video of state Representative Ron Amstutz (R - Wooster) captured by the SCPR at Representative Christina Hagan's May 9th Townhall meeting wherein he owns up to the failed strategy of cutting individual Ohio income tax rates being a spur to an improved Ohio economy more than offsetting the cuts.  The strategy proved wrong and about one to two billion in lost revenues are a significant part of the shortfall that is now being covered.

Schuring, Oelslager and Hagan's father all voted for the reduction in state revenues.  Accordingly, they (including appointed-daughter Christina) own part of the budgetary problems now as having brought it on themselves.  In addition, Schuring and Oelslager have had a hand in accelerating the the drop off to local governments in TTP tax revenues.  Moreover, they along with Christina Hagan are parties to eliminating Stark County local government Ohio Estate Tax revenues effective with the latter half of 2013.

In the end, all three will hold hands with county commissioners, mayors and councilpersons of Stark County cities and villages as well as township trustees and beseech divine intervention.

But the saying is:  "the Lord helps those who help themselves."

Oelslager and Schuring have been integral parts of creating a fiscal/financial problem for themselves and, unfortunately, for all of Ohio.

Stand back and watch as they punish us for the mistakes they and their colleagues have made.

Here is a video of Representative Schuring addressing the commissioners.

No comments: