Friday, June 13, 2014


As early as December 20, 2010  the Stark County Political Report began writing about the draconian state funding cuts that were coming to local government (villages, cities and townships) in the wake of Republican John Kasich's election as governor in November.

And such talk was not just "whistling Dixie" on a dark, scary night to comfort oneself in the face of feared disaster.

The fact of the matter is that the Kasich administration has done what it was feared it would do on taking office on January 1, 2011.

As an Ohio political subdivision and one of the state's larger counties, Stark has absorbed the full brunt of the cuts which over the entire state has turned into a $575 million in cuts whereas Ohio now has several billions in surpluses in its "rainy day fund."

What the SCPR notes is that a few of Stark County's local government officials have struck out at state officials but that they for the most part are out-of-power-at-the-state-level Democrats.

A recent new entrant into the jawboning has been Democratic Canton city treasurer Kim Perez, who, the SCPR thinks is fixing to run against Canton mayor William J. Healy, II come next year's Democrat primary election (May, 2015).

The SCPR thinks Perez may be "more of the same" in terms of local officials (again, emphasizing mostly Democratic ones) whining about the state cuts in a grandstanding fashion and not doing anything about it.

In the following video of Perez at Canton's June 2, 2014 meeting of city council, he talks about "new" potential devastation to Canton and other Stark County and Ohio cities at the hand of proposed Amended Senate Bill 5 and of his effort to bring all of Stark County officialdom together in united action in bringing pressure to bear on the Ohio General Assembly and, of course, Stark Countians Oelslager, Hagan, Schuring and Slesnick.

As The Report wrote in October,2012 right before the 2012 general election:
The SCPR projects that Stephen Slesnick (Democrat - Canton, the 49th), Kirk Schuring (Republican - Jackson Township, the 48th) and Christina Hagan (Republican - the 50th) will win re-election next month by fairly comfortable margins.  And The Report is ready to project that the Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez (who, as Jackson Township fiscal officer, 9-1-1 governance committee chairman and Canton Municipal Court employee frequently complains about the drop off  of funding of local governments) will offer up a "sacrificial lamb" in opposition to Scott Oelslager two years hence when he seeks re-election.

In re-electing this Stark County legislative foursome, the message they receive is a loud and clear:  your seat is safe and secure no matter that you have done nothing to stop the carnage of Ohio's Local Government Fund funding of Stark County's cities, villages and townships.

To add insult to injury, beginning January 1st, there will be no more revenues from what used to be Ohio's estate tax.

And there are other legislative initiatives and failures to hold harmless that the four have participated in to one degree or another.

The SCPR really has no sympathy at all for local officials and their complaints about what Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly is doing to them and to Stark County taxpayers.

Who among them has organized any pressure on the re-elective future of any of the four?

Answer:  none!

All they do is whine.

And when any one of the four shows up in local government venues, they are likely to be treated as if they are political royalty.  Kissing up to those who are hurting you seems to be the standard protocol most local government types dish out notwithstanding the financial grief that none of the four has done anything to stop.

Not that the four should be treated uncivilly, but they should receive a barrage of criticism and they should be subject to meaningful and threatening to their political longevity opposition as the come up for re-election.

The SCPR's take is that local officials really do not care so long as they can convince locals to ante up with local tax increases.
 And what has changed as we approach the 2014 general election?

Exactly nothing!

As a parting reminder that he is Stark County's "whiner-in-chief," recently retired Canton Municipal Court chief deputy and former (as of June 5, 2014) Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez has offered up a bevy of sacrificial lambs to the Republican side of the Stark County delegation in this fall's election and, in the case of his seeming "best - political - friend" J. Kirk Schuring:  nobody!"

Democratic Canton City Council president Allen Schulman is one of the foremost critics of the Kasich administration and members of the Stark County delegation of the Ohio General Assembly; namely,
  • Republican Scott Oelslager of Plain township representing the 29th Ohio Senate District which includes most of Stark County
  • Republican J. Kirk Schuring of Jackson Township representing the 48th Ohio House District,
  • Democrat Stephen Slesnik of Canton representing the 49th Ohio House District, and
  • Republican Christina Hagan of Marlboro Township representing the 50th House District
because they have done absolutely nothing to curb the $575 million in cuts despite pleas that they do so from area "mostly Democratic" local officials.

Here is a April, 2013 Schulman "rant" about the legislators.

As a consequence of the political impunity with which the Stark County delegation has failed to act to stop the financial bloodletting on local government funds, local voters have been asked (with varying degrees of success/failure) to make up for the cuts.

Accordingly, the recent outcries by Perez, Schulman, Healy and a few other outlier Democrat officials and a few whimpers by a scant few of Republican officials should be scoffed at by Stark Countians.

As far as the SCPR can tell, the protestations are all mouth.

As long as local officials can get the voters of Stark's cities, villages and townships (as, of course, school districts) to ante up new local revenues, all we will get from local officials is political rhetoric.

It could be that as voters consider new income tax increase requests and/or income tax credit reductions and the like (e.g. Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton) and should they reject them, the seriousness and the authenticity of the clamor by "state cut" complaining Stark officials might actually bear fruit in terms of putting Oelslager, Hagan, Schuring and Slesnick on the "hot seat."

And, perhaps, Stark County voters ought to reject any and all new revenue requests so as to give local officials no other choice than to push back and push back hard on state government through the locals who we send to Columbus.

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