The Stark County Political Report congratulates the citizens who stepped up and asked Representative Christina Hagan (and her support staff of Reps. Ron Amstutz and David Hall) why House Bill 41 had not be acted upon.
What is HB 41?
A measure calling for a 5% decrease in the salaries of members of the Ohio General Assembly and statewide elected executive officers (e.g. the governor, secretary of state et cetera).
It is amazing that Reps. Hagan, Amstutz and Hall seem befuddled at the question. Now why would that be?
Could it be that the word from on high came down that Speaker of the House Batchelder that Chairman Mecklenborg (Government & Elections Committee) was to bury the bill?
The Report telephoned Sponsor Boose's office and talked with the representative's legislative aide. The aide told yours truly that Chairman Mecklenborg was refusing to set the bill (introduced January 20, 2011) for hearing.
It is more than ironic that the Kasich administration and the leadership of the Ohio General Assembly are forcing sacrifice on government workers except if one works in the Legislature and the executive branch of government as well as at the executive level of statewide departments of governments.
Representatives Hagan, Amstutz and Hall feebly responded on Monday "but its unconstitutional for us to cut our salaries." However, Hagan did note that HB 41 affected officials can write a check back to government or make a donation to their favorite charities.
And, the SCPR says, this is exactly what they should do.
First, pass the law for future affected officeholders.
Second, set the example as suggested by Hagan and donate back to government or onto charity.
Hagan, through the political clout of her father John (state rep. from 2000 through 2008), went from being a college student and restaurant server to making more than $60,000 per year. Most, by far, than ordinary Ohioans and Stark Countians.
Actually, $3,000 would not be a sacrifice for her. But the symbolism is important.
Representatives Hagan, Amstutz and Hall should be putting pressure on Chairman Mecklenborg to get the bill moving. As a citizen at Monday's meeting said, it took no time at all to get SB 5 (the collective bargain clamp down) and HB 153 (the budget making huge cuts in government services on ordinary citizens), but HB 41 is stalled in committee.
It is this sort of hypocrisy that is growing the cynicism about government. One just does not want to hear the lament of government officials decrying public negativity towards them when they do what they are doing on the likes of HB 41.
The SCPR encourages readers to contact Chairman Mecklenborg as well as Representatives Schuring and Hagan and insist that HB 41 be moved along.
Here is the video of the exchange between the citizen who brought HB 41 up and the townhall meeting and Hagan, Amstutz and Hall: