Monday, June 29, 2009

More than libraries are at stake

I was wondering when the Plain Dealer would run a story that clearly dramatizes what's at stake in the state budget crisis: not just Ohio's libraries, but a huge part of our safety net for poor kids, the elderly, and the mentally ill. The story came yesterday: Brent Larkin's column, "Strickland doing an appalling job."

Don't call Larkin retired. His freelance column this week calls out the governor (pictured) -- and House Speaker Armond Budish -- with a clarity that's been missing from a lot of the state budget crisis coverage:
If Strickland were a Republican, this state's many advocates for children would be burning him in effigy on the Statehouse lawn. ...

... In tough times, governors have to cut spending. But good governors don't:

Abolish funding for a program that provides preschool to 14,400 low-income children.

Eliminate state aid to food pantries, especially in a recession.

Whack deep into programs for the mentally challenged and the elderly.

Permit the plundering of funding for their most important accomplishment -- in this case, higher education, the cornerstone of Ohio's economic future.


The budget crisis is going into overtime, with Strickland and Republicans at an impasse over slot machines and other issues. If they can't agree on a budget by tomorrow night, they'll have to pass a temporary budget and keep negotiating. Here are the Columbus Dispatch's reports from yesterday and today.

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