Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Updated:  11:00 a.m.

Ever since Republican Governor John Kasich announced through Ohio House Bill 153 (the 2012-2013 biennium state budget) that he was cutting back on local government funding, we have been hearing the whining coming out of Stark's various local governments about the hard times, even devastation that the cuts are going to reek on operations.

But the SCPR just has to wonder.


Why would the The Report muse as to whether nor not media reports of dire consequences are accurate?

One telling reason is that there is very little if any flap by city, village and township officials directed in name, rank and serial number fashion directly upon or in the face of the Republicans (Hagan, Oelslager and Schuring -  "The Three") who make of three-fourths of the Stark County delegation to  the Ohio Statehouse.

Yours truly gets around quite a bit in Stark County local government venues.

But The Report has not experienced nor heard of one incident of local government officials calling any of The Three in for a face-to-face and frank discussion of the consequences of their votes on the ability of an unit of government to financially operate.

If anything, when these officials do show up at town hall, the local officials are most likely to "kiss-up" and fawn; they do not take them to task. 

And The Report is not criticizing civility, but what one sees at all too may local government meetings when the staties or feds show up, is more like a love-in rather than merely being civil and respectful.

If the whining to the media is, in fact, merited, then The Three and their colleagues are to blame because the Republicans control the Ohio General Assembly "lock, stock and barrel."

In addition to voting for the original budget (Oelslager sort of [he voted early on for it, then against it but for reasons other than local government funding issues] and then again in a recent mid-budget revision, they have helped to eliminate the Ohio Estate Tax local government revenues beginning with 2013 and have failed to wholly hold local governments harmless on the loss of  tangible personal property tax revenues which has been phased out as a part of a Republican inspired mid-2000s tax reform initiative.

So there is no doubt that Stark County Statehouse Republicans Hagan, Oelslager and Schuring have been part and parcel of the statewide Republican effort that is changing the funding model of local government.

More and more, local taxpayers are going to have to determine how much in the way of local government services they want and, of course, to pay the bill pretty much all on their own.

An example.

The Stark County Crime Lab.

From all accounts Stark County "could" get by without having a local crime lab which is currently funded by Ohio's Local Government Fund monies.  It costs about $1 million a year.

After mid-year 2013, there is some thinking that Governor Kasich and his fellows in the Ohio Legislature will cut the Local Government Fund in its entirety and that there would be "no money" for the Stark Crime Lab (SCCL).

So does this mean that law enforcement officials would have no means to get crime scene evidence evaluated?


There is the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) located in Richfield, Ohio probably about 35 miles from Stark County.

Obviously, it is much more convenient to work with the Canton-based Stark County Crime Lab.  Moreover, there are reports that SCCL processes evidence far quicker that BCI does.

But the fact of the matter Stark County law enforcement could survive with BCI.

So doesn't it stand to reason that if Stark County wants physical proximity and faster service that Stark County taxpayers should pay for it.  

And maybe they have.

What was the November, 2011 ballot initiative Issue 29 (the county proposed 0.5% sales tax) about?

Answer:  funding county law enforcement and the administration of justice, no?

It passed, didn't it?

So haven't Stark Countians prioritized and provided the money for the continued existence of the SCCL notwithstanding the loss of Local Government Fund monies?

Of course, what local government official wouldn't want the Columbus cash cow to keep producing money-milk?

Has flow from Columbus insulated them from the need to lead and justify to their local taxpayers the essential nature of this or that program or policy or practice?

The SCPR is disposed to think more and more that all the whining to the media is somewhat disingenuous as evidenced by the "kissing up" that continues to take place in the relationship of local government officials vis-a-vis The Three who have endorsed (by their votes) the changing of the funding model for local government finances.

Isn't it time to stop the whining and start to lead?

Or, perhaps, put their Columbus representative on the spot in the public spotlight?

No comments: