Yesterday, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the House Republicans were set to consider some 200 amendments submitted in response to the Substitute House Bill they introduced for the State’s budget Thursday afternoon.  Now the fate of these amendments are far from certain, but among the things the House GOP is being urged to change are:

  • Their new provision that would give county commissioners authority to privatize county jails.  It’s getting to the point where Ohio’s criminals may never actually be punished by the State, but out-of-state corporations hired to mete out punishment for profits.
  • Some Cincinnati-area lawmakers want to change the CAT-tax provisions for the casinos away from being based on gross receipts, but changed from net.  The Strickland Administration largely favored gross, and it appears the Kasich Administration has as well.  However, the casinos are threatening that a CAT tax on the gross receipts would force them to scale back the plans for their developments of the casinos that they were able to get a constitutional lock to create.
  • Provisions that would substantially revise teacher tenure as we know it and enact some of the merit-based pay provisions of SB 5 is supposedly up for further consideration.  Just like SB 5 did, continuing contracts for teachers are limited to three-year terms in the changes the House GOP announced Thursday and prohibits continuing contracts (tenure) for any teacher who was initially licensed after January 1 of this year.
  • The massive power grab handed to for-profit charter school operators like David Brennan of White Hat Management that has been roundly criticized by charter school advocates of turning Ohio into a “laughingstock” nationally when it comes to accountability for charter schools.  Among the things that the House GOP included for charter schools was a ban of collective bargaining rights of employees of charter school governing authorities (i.e. charter school employees.)

On Thursday, the House unveiled a number of changes to some provisions we’ve been discussing since the budget was first unveiled by Governor Kasich in mid-March.

The massive privatization power grab for Kasich’s Cabinet.

The House Republicans limited the six-pages buried in the Governor’s budget that would have given Office of Budget & Management Director Tim Keen authority to privatize any State government service was reduced down to allowing Keen to privatize any “highway services” and that power is sunset at the end of the first fiscal year of this budget.  Based on the surrounding language, it’s pretty clear that the House GOP is giving the Kasich Administration a green light to lease the Ohio Turnpike out to a private operator, but for some reason they just won’t out and just say that’s what they’re doing.

Assistance to help seniors stay in their homes (Passport) 

  After the Dispatch reported on Kasich’s hypocrisy of talking in his State of the State about helping seniors stay in their homes and out of expensive nursing home care only to slash the budget for Passport, which does just that.  The House Republicans removed about $15 million of the Governor’s cuts to the programs.  The bad news is that means they’re still keeping roughly 74% of the cuts to the program’s funding that the Governor originally called for.

Will that additional $15 million help House Republicans in the fall when they face angry seniors who are still going to upset by the Republicans vote to slash tens of millions from the program in a massive double digit cut to a very popular program’s funding?  I bet not.

Changes to civil service protections

For the most part, the House GOP kept all of Governor Kasich’s changes to Ohio’s civil service laws that we mentioned.  The only changes they made is that when a veteran and a non-veterans tie on an examination, the House GOP kept the current law that breaks the tie in favor of the veteran applicant.  Kasich’s budget would have eliminating this veterans’ hiring preference law.

Other than that, the House kept all the other changes that the Governor’s budget proposes, including changing how much of a bonus a veteran applicant gets to their civil service examination.

What hasn’t changed

The changes the House GOP was, let’s face it, minor practically cosmetic changes to the bill.  The most substantial changes the House did make from Kasich’s budget was:

  • Add an extra $80 million for schools (which is a drop in the budget compared to the billions in State funding they’re still going to lose under even the House GOP budget),
  • Gut sentencing reform out of the budget,
  • Cut out of Kasich’s proposal for a shift of pension contributions from the State to employees beyond what they’re already having to make in additional contributions to return the pensions to solvency after the Lehman Brothers-inspired collapse of Wall Street, and
  • Add the last-minute inclusion of estate tax repeal.

Kasich’s prevailing wage changes are unchanged and unchallenged.  His privatization of Ohio’s prisons and juvenile facilities has now expanded to include the juvenile facility in Scioto County that Kasich’s budget slated to close.

The State Senate has already begun their own committee hearings this week on the State budget.  The House Finance Committee is expected to pass the budget out of committee this afternoon or evening.  A floor vote on the House is expected on Thursday where there may be even more attempts to amend the budget.

  • Yikes

    Is there ANYTHING we can do to stop the selling of Ohio?

  • Anonymous

    Before SB5 was passed I attended a meeting at the county OEA office to hear the State Rep. speak. He is a Republican, but received the OEA endorsement in the last election (and I can assure you that that will NEVER happen again!). When asked how he would vote he did a tap dance and finally said that although he did not agree with much of the bill he had not made up his mind to vote against it. When pressed by an older teacher to commit, he stated that “You don’t know what they will do to me in Columbus if I vote against the leadership; I could be stripped of my committee membership!” Further pressed that we had supported him in the election and we wanted his support for this issue, he flatly informed us that it wasn’t our support that gave him the election, but the support of the wealthy business men in another county. He then rushed off to a meeting with the city fire fighter’s union members on the same issue. In my career I have seen many instances of people doing the “right thing for the wrong reason” and trying to justify it, but I have never had someone try to justify to me that they were doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason, as this kahuna did! He may as well have spit in our faces, and he was once a teacher and school administrator!

  • Beca117

    OH MY GOODNESS……..I guess he forgot that it doesn’t matter how much money is donated to him, it is the votes at the ballot that put his butt in the chair.

  • Anonymous

    You had to be there….when he said it, he got that “Kasich Smirk” on his face.

  • Beca117

    I’ve learned one thing from this mess…1) The representatives that we elect don’t really care about who they represent – and 2) You don’t ever vote against your job.

  • Anonymous

    That is 2 things…but who’s counting? As to the 2nd one, I hope a whole bunch of people learned the same thing.

  • dlw

    I can’t believe he actually admitted it!

    Meanwhile, I guess I need to go write to my elected peeps again. My senator is one of the few who voted against SB5, so hopefully he’ll be smart about the budget as well….

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    They are all afraid of his wrath…….. grown adults afraid to disagree ,afraid to speak their minds against a man that would throw them under any bus that comes along. I never thought I would see the day that people could not stand up for themselves for fear of retaliation. We have the same thing going on sb5 have people around us ( management) telling stuff like “if” you sign a petition it may result in your not being employeed any longer etc. ands its my feeling its coming right out of the governors office.
    Why is it this is America and no one will stnad up for rights– I remember days when folks did that. Whats happened to us?

  • buckeyekelly

    This is ridiculous! I brought this up at a town hall meeting last night:

    Americans are outraged at Exxon Mobil making billions of dollars in profit while receiving comfortable government handouts and tax breaks. I believe the outrage stems from us having to pay more for a product while they make money.

    Americans are outraged at GE making millions of dollars in profit while receiving tax breaks and often public dollars for research and development.

    Kasich would like people to be outraged that public school teachers are making profit (in terms of benefits) funded by our tax dollars.

    How come Ohioians aren’t outraged at charter schools making millions of dollars in profit while receiving MY tax dollars for a subpar (37% of charter school students underperform compared to public school students) product? Is THIS the speed of business?

    How come it’s okay to demonize unions because they give to Democratic candidates but it’s never brought to light (present company excluded, I mean by mainstream media or anyone on the floor of the house or senate) how much money charter schools give to Republicans?

    What we have here is a failure to communicate. Dammit, get this message down and get it out!

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