Posts by: Lauren

 The challenging economic environment has always meant a tough budget balancing act for the Governor and his policy makers.  Ohio is dealing with a projected $8 billion shortfall, which is the context for the administration’s mathematical acrobatics. 

Both the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio are funded through assessments paid by utilities, not funded through the state’s general revenue fund (In other words, not funded by taxpayer dollars).  The cuts then do not directly save taxpayer funds.

Theoretically, if the fees on utilities are lessened, then those savings could be passed […]

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Remember Red Herring from the short-lived “A Pup Called Scooby-Doo” cartoon series –  the red-headed bully that Freddie mistakenly blamed for all the mishap?

Red Herring has been recast in Governor Kasich’s first budget as a small consumer call center located in the scruffy consumer agency that is at times considered a thorn in the side of Ohio’s utilities – the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel

The thirty-five-year-old agency will sustain a 51 percent budget cut should Kasich’s budget proposal be passed, or $4.1 million, impacting the agency’s ability to intervene in the variety of utility legal […]

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Thirty-five years ago, the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel was born, the product of legislation introduced by a fresh-faced State Representative named Sherrod Brown, to represent customers of public utilities in Ohio and give them a voice against powerful interests.

Today, that agency is threatened by budget cuts and proposed changes to its mission which would limit the ability of the agency to fight for fairness for Ohio consumers.

This isn’t the story of insiders, bureaucratic malaise, or politics at its worst. It is a story of David versus Goliath, and an example of the philosophical differences raging in the Ohio capital […]

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