Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Citizens, lobbyists deluge legislature with pleas as budget-slashing hour nears

I don't know about you, but I'm getting deluged with e-mails asking me to call my state legislators to protect library funding, arts funding, and social service funding. That's because the Ohio General Assembly has to write a new two-year budget by Tuesday.

Tax revenue is way down thanks to the recession. Democrats and Republicans are playing a game of chicken, refusing to be the first to suggest new taxes because they're afraid that'd spell doom in the 2010 elections. So everything must go. Given the legislature's habit of procrastination and brinksmanship, major decisions affecting millions of people will probably be made around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Maybe it's the home-field advantage, but the Columbus Dispatch is writing especially good stories about the high-stakes budget rush. Reporter Alan Johnson uses The Turtle Lady to tell the story of citizen efforts to stop the cuts. Jim Siegel's vivid story shows us how the debate looks from the point of view of a key lobbyist and legislators being lobbied.

Update, 2:10 pm: Librarians and their supporters rallied against the library cuts in downtown Cleveland this morning. Check out Kristin Majcher's report on Cleveland Magazine's main blog.

No comments: