This week, Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Tea Party), finally got one of his pet grandstanding ideas passed: banning the use of stimulus dollars to pay for signs identifying the use of stimulus dollars. Does it matter that the signs have already been made? No. Does it matter that GOP critics have often complained about a lack of transparency in ARRA spending? No. Does it matter that Kasich was inaugurated on a Monday and state workers had put his name on the freeway welcome signs by Friday? Does it matter that this has nothing to do with creating jobs or helping Ohio’s continued economic recovery? Does it matter that Tim Grendell has personally co-sponsored at least 74 bills that authorize memorial highway and bridge naming signs around the state payed for with taxpayer dollars?

No. Even if the timing makes you think this is mainly a red-meat toss to a base that’s a bit miffed with his anti-SB 5 vote (one that it seems the GOP is desperately fighting to flip), the only thing that has ever mattered was that the signs:

“according to Grendell … (are) just a big ‘thank you’ to the Obama Administration.

Grendell first noticed the signs (the previous) fall. He had to pass one every day on the way to get his morning coffee.

It made him so angry he’d return home mumbling under his breath. He says even after the road project was finished, the sign remained up for some time. He’s so furious about this he introduced a bill to stop the signs and wrote a letter to Ohio’s Democratic governor, Ted Strickland.”

Senator Grendell was even more upset that the sign didn’t come down than that it was originally put up, because it made the federal government look good. It did not cost anything to leave it up, but cost isn’t really the point. This became even clearer after the non-partisan LSC wrote up the expected fiscal effects of Grendell’s amendment this week:

Fiscal effect: Potential minimal cost savings on ARRA projects where work has not yet begun. Because some federal agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, require recipients of ARRA funds to display the ARRA logo on ARRA-funded projects, it may be that some state agencies and local governments that receive ARRA funding would be required to use other funds to meet such federal signage requirements on projects that have yet to reach construction phase.
(emphasis added)

So… there’s little savings, if any, to be made by banning stimulus-funded stimulus signage, and a real possibility that this will result in the de-funding of a funded federal mandate, requiring state and local government to pick up the tab. Senator Pot wants Ohio taxpayers to pay for his petty political message to President Kettle out of their own pockets.

By the way, if you’ve forgotten what the signs look like, you can find the image featured prominently on the front page of ODOT’s site. Clicking on it will take you to a page with links to stories detailing the tens of thousands of jobs, resulting in tens of millions in paychecks, that helped Ohio’s employment numbers improve every single month in 2010.

For now, anyway.

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