Ted Strickland, Governor of Ohio, recently worked on the State budget. He proposed cuts to: Schools, youth services, fire departments, police departments, lay off 100 state employees, parks and recreation, and to the homeless shelters and other organizations to help the elderly, sick, and unemployed. His budget also includes a tax hike of $100 a year for each $50,000 of income.
First, our schools. Schools can not make it on their own as it is. Many school districts in Ohio had tax levies on the last ballot and most failed. People can't afford more tax. Many schools in Central Ohio will eliminate ALL extra-curricular activies for the 2009-10 school year. This includes all sports. And several schools announced they can't even afford "pay to play". Our Governor now has cut state funding to all Ohio schools. Education is to me, the #1 thing that should NEVER be cut.
Second, cutting funding to youth services. Many of the private treatment centers rely on investments in order to survive. These private centers took a big hit when our economy collapsed about a year ago and they have not been able to recover. Several youth services treatment centers were forced to lay off workers or close down. Now with additional budget cuts by the State of Ohio, even more youth services will be cut. Ted Strickland says that DYS is better off using private facilities and renting space, rather than maintaining their own facilities. Well that is good I guess since now these struggling privately run youth treatment centers will have a huge income boost. However, now you are putting violent youth in low security treatment centers. AWOL's will increase and more injuries to other youth and the staff.
Ted Strickland is also cutting funding to homeless shelters, meals on wheels, and other services to help those in need. He's also cutting funding to elderly care. This means increased cost to families who have relatives in a rest home or retirement home. They can't afford the $3,000 a month as it is! This means the homeless shelters will close down. Meals on Wheels will need more private donations. And more rest home residents will have to return home where they can not get adequate supervision and care.
Worst of all, our safety is in jeopardy. With crime in Central Ohio at it's all time high EVER, our Governor wants to cut policeman and fireman jobs? Homicide in Columbus reached it's highest yearly total this year in just 6 months! Assault, rape and battery rates have increased to over 10,000 this year and previous highest yearly total was 12,000. Our streets won't be safe. It is also estimated by cutting back on our fire services that response time will increase from 5 minutes to 12 minutes. I'm sorry, but if your house is on fire, a 7 minute increase in response time means you are likely to lose your home. And guess what, many people have cut back on their home insurance because they are struggling to make ends meet. First thing most people cut is their insurance premiums, including their auto insurance. Here's another fact, in Ohio unisured motorist has risen from 12% to 28% in the past year! That is almost 1 in 3 chance that you will be involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. While in Ohio it is law that you carry auto insurance, 28% choose not to because they can't afford it.
The cuts to Parks and Recreation isn't really as major of an issue, but this means that half of the community swim pools aren't open this summer. Of course their are other programs to help kids in the summer, such as youth baseball, soccer, etc, that will be cut.
Ted Strickland says he's about the people, but he's proving over and over again that he really doesn't care. FYI, he's increasing state employee salaries and benefits, when they are over paid as it is, and have like 18 paid holidays every year. We won't mention that he's increasing funding to fix up our roads, when our roads are in the best shape they have ever been and they don't need additional funding. Strickland says increasing funding to support our infrastructure will increase jobs and attract new business. I'm sorry but our roads are in good enough shape, he doesn't need to give them another $20 million a year.