Given that the House and Senate are safely controlled by his Republican brethren, it’s unsurprising that Governor Kasich vetoed only seven items in the budget. But it’s curious that a facility in Twinsburg that serves developmentally disabled kids and adults wound up in the Governor’s crosshairs.

Legislators set aside $62,500 in each fiscal year for the Hattie Larlham Home out of state Medicaid program funds; the Home offers work opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as a creative arts program and autism preschool. The reason Kasich gave for the veto was that the earmark treated one individual facility differently than others and prevented the administration from overseeing how Medicaid funds are spent.

But the amount was $62,500 out of $4.3 BILLION in State Medicaid funds spent in a single year. It’s a rounding error, and certainly not large enough to impact any new savings or reform programs the administration has planned.

What about the argument that the earmark singles out one facility and treats it differently? Well, duh, that’s how earmarks work. Hattie Larlham is not unique in this budget; witness the following earmarks the Governor approved:

  • Cincinatti Museum Center – $195,285 in each fiscal year
  • Western Reserve Historical Society – $195,285 in each fiscal year
  • National Afro-American Museum – $414,798 in each fiscal year

Those examples aside, this budget was commendably short on earmarks. But the question is: if the Governor objected strongly to this one, the House and Senate leadership would presumably have taken it out in Conference. They went along with Kasich on practically everything else. So did he not let his objections known in the back room so that he could make a public show of vetoing it? And if so, why did Hattie Larlham rise to this level?

Hattie Larlham is represented by a lobbyist named Todd Bergdoll. Berdoll is significant because he’s also the chief lobbyist for Ohio’s nursing homes, a group that stood alone in running television ads to fight the Governor’s budget cuts. In this case, they ran an incredibly nasty attack ad accusing the Governor of all but pulling the plug on old people. To make matters worse, Bergdoll had the nerve to support Kasich’s opponent in the 2010 election. It’s not like he’s a democrat – he gave to President Niehaus and Speaker Batchelder, but apparently liked Strickland’s prospects better than Kasich’s back in 2009.

So is it payback? If it is, it’s incredibly petty. The Governor’s deep cuts to nursing homes were preserved in the final budget, so they (and Bergdoll) were already roundly punished. For Hattie Larlham to get the veto treatment seems to represent the Governor kicking Bergdoll in the teeth while he’s already lying bleeding on the curb.

Kasich warned us you’re either on the bus or the bus is going to run you over. And it appears Todd Bergdoll is the budget’s first known repeat victim. Congrats Todd! You can make amends here. And sorry to those developmentally disabled kids of Twinsburg. Next time you should make sure you have the right lobbyist.

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  • Is this how the “Family Values” shows what it is about.  These people are just wrong.

  • Anastasjoy

    It might be possible for a person to be meaner, pettier and more lacking in empathy and Christian charity than John Kasich. But right now, I’m having difficult imagining how.

  • Why ? Why doesnt this surprise me?

  • Anonymous

    This man is just pure evil. Do we not have a way to recall him?

    We’ve got an old saying down here in Appalachian Ohio :
    “I’d like to buy him for what he’s worth and sell him for what he THINKS he’s worth.”

  • Beca117

    Parents of special needs kids are going to have to find out how to file a due process suit and start suing.  The Gov’s treatment of those receiving spec needs services is horrible!

  • Because evil Prince John hates people especially people who aren’t lucky enough to be the Forbes 400 richest Americans, the ones who can’t buy his next office. 

    Radical rethugs = monsters dressed as human beings.

  • Nope, all we can do is make him as ineffective as possible otherwise we are stuck with his sorry evil behind. 

  • They talk a good game about family values but do not value families……where are the jobs so that people can take care of their families….oh yeah right, they value money way more than people. 

    The party of so called  family values = the party that values money and the monied more. 

  • I think they must think that money is part of their “Family”.

  • As disgusting as Kasich screwing over a bunch of disabled kids out of a personal vendetta against someone who advocates for them? 

  • Anonymous

    I’m not the one who said you’re either on the bus or you’ll get run over by it. That quote comes from our Governor.

  • Fire7fighter777

    you might not be able to recall him, but you can get him out of office…  Just like in Libya and other places right?  If you don’t agree start to protest, if he retaliates then they have to ask him to step down. That is what they are asking rulers of other countries anyway.

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