Back in May, John Kasich announced that he wanted to install metal detectors in the Ohio Statehouse.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the agency currency charged with providing security for the Statehouse, they are already “providing a sufficient and appropriate level of security”.
Which leads me to believe that Kasich’s true goal likely has more to do with limiting access to the Statehouse than it does with actual security concerns.
I’m guessing his plan was hatched during the Senate Bill 5 protests this spring when tens of thousands of union members and their supporters converged on the Statehouse to reject the GOP-controlled legislature’s union busting agenda.
While the protests certainly presented some unique logistical challenges, security doesn’t appear to have been a major issue.
Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the Statehouse and, aside from a few trampled flower beds, no major incidents occured. No one was shot or stabbed or even punched on state property. No one so much as had their toes stepped on.
This proposal, like so many of Kasich’s other endeavors, seems unnecessary, selfish and vindictive. More importantly, it seems to have the most detrimental impact on Ohio’s taxpayers.
We decided to do a little investigating to see how much it might end up costing us if Kasich’s metal detector plan was implemented.
We contacted the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, the group responsible for all things Statehouse related, and requested some estimates for the costs of installing and manning Kasich’s metal detectors.
Officially, the Board is still working on a final estimate that will be released soon. But our records request revealed some proposals submitted by security companies hoping to win the contracts to install and operate the metal detectors. And the costs turned out to be pretty shocking.
A proposal from SecurMAR, LLC puts the cost of buying the X-ray units somewhere between $19,344.82 for the low end model typically used in schools, to $28,094.06 for the high-end model used by TSA.
And a proposal from G4S secure solutions puts the cost of the security personnel needed to operate the machines at $691,713.36 per year.
An LSC analysis shows that Kasich’s current budget proposal cuts the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board’s GRF funding by 2% (down to $5,793,168 in 2012). Which means the cost of using G4S’s security personnel to implement his plan would require a nearly 12% increase in SCRAB’s budget.
Since less than half of CSRAB’s funding comes from the State, the additional money would likely have to come from increased parking fees in the Statehouse parking garage.
Typical Kasich budget math.
The Statehouse has had no major incidents in recent memory the Ohio State Highway Patrol says the security measures are already sufficient. Yet Kasich wants to force everyone entering the Statehouse to be subjected to extremely-slow and highly-intrusive scans that will ultimately cost Ohio’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year?
Kasich has had some pretty ridiculous ideas in the past. But this has got to be one the worst.