800 protest budget proposal at rally
By Marc Kovac
Nickole Wilson didn’t mince words in her assessment of Gov. John Kasich’s $55.5 billion biennial budget proposal.
“I am just a simple parent, but I’m not going to take this sitting down,” the mother of three from Cleveland said during a rally at the Statehouse Tuesday. “And you shouldn’t, either.”
She added, shouting, “Enough! We’ve had enough! We’re mad and we’re not going to take it anymore.”
Wilson was one of about 800 people who took part in the midday protest, calling on lawmakers and Kasich to take a different approach to balancing the budget — and one that includes tax increases instead of cuts to programming for the needy.
Among other issues, the protesters are calling for lawmakers to restore funding for a kinship program that allows children to be placed in relatives’ homes instead of foster care, increased support for community health clinics and a restoration of eligibility for child-care vouchers.
“We are not going to stand by and allow you to pillage and plunder our children anymore,” Wilson said, adding later, “They’re putting an economy together for us that is going to invoke riots.”
Asked about the protest during a press conference Tuesday, Kasich said his budget proposal preserves funding for services for the needy.
“I think we’ve done a very good job in terms of our efforts to protect the weakest among us,” he said. “When it comes to the developmentally disabled, the mentally ill, the addicted ... I’m telling you honestly, I want to help there.”
He added later of the protesters, “God bless them. I like anybody who wants to stand up for the disabled, for children, but I think we’ve done a pretty good job with this.”