An accused serial killer walked out of police custody only to commit another felony. Around that same time, another man was held in jail for violating a dress code. His crime — wearing a hoodie and saggy pants inside an RTA hub. The alleged murderer walked free, while the man with droopy drawers sat in jail. The reason? One had access to money while the other didn’t.
After multiple votes in the General Assembly, 47 vetoes by Governor Kasich, and 11 veto override votes in the House of Representatives (the most in 40 years!), Ohio now (almost) has a final two-year budget. The Senate has yet to act on the House’s veto overrides, so more changes could be made, but it seems safe to take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the final budget as it now stands.
COLUMBUS – Moving like a virus from state to state, a scheme to subsidize nuclear power plants appeared in New York last year and has spread to Ohio, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In Columbus, FirstEnergy is trying to convince lawmakers to establish a “zero emissions nuclear resource program” (ZEN) to prop-up its failing nuclear plants.
As bail reform proposals gain momentum across the country, the bail bond industry has been under the gun and bail agents—like Dog the Bounty Hunter—are looking to protect their profits. Bail reform advocates have been challenging the constitutionality of cash bail in court for years, but now the bail industry itself has filed suit to oppose New Jersey’s new bail initiatives.
By Ohio standards, the recently passed state budget was one of the better ones put together in a long time. However, as with any budget, for all of the positive parts, there were still some bad things tucked in there. As we go through the literally thousands of pages of details, we will highlight a few of these.
In an opinion piece in The Hill, Rea S. Hederman Jr. looks at bold health care initiatives that Ohio’s General Assembly just passed. “The state’s General Assembly has just insisted that Governor Kasich submit two significant waiver requests to Trump’s Administration by early next year. The waivers will reduce Ohio’s Medicaid costs and create a more-seamless transition for people moving from Medicaid into affordable private coverage — something vitally important given the current death spiral of Obamacare exchanges.”
Currently, 69 of Ohio’s 88 counties include a region defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as medically underserved. Thirty-one of these are Appalachian counties, and according to the Appalachian Translational Research Network, Appalachian populations have disproportionately higher instances of poor health, face additional barriers to enhanced health, and exceed national poverty rate averages.
As always, the state budget, passed every two years, is the single most important piece of legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly. Tax, education, health care, criminal justice, and local government issues are all touched on in this critical legislation. Getting budget policy right means making sure resources are spent wisely on the things government must do. Just as importantly, it means enhancing liberty, creating a better environment for job and economic growth, and securing prosperity for Bob and Betty Buckeye.
Ohio has greatly benefited from the discovery of the Utica and Marcellus shale formations, which has brought money and jobs to an economically depressed part of the state. According to Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, shale has created more than 195,000 core and ancillary jobs in Ohio and, on average, those jobs pay 36 percent more than the average Ohio job. That is good news for the Buckeye State.
Every year, The Buckeye Institute and the Fraser Institute release Economic Freedom of North America (EFNA), an index ranking economic freedom in the states. The rankings look at the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere free of undue restrictions, such as a high tax burden or labor market regulations.