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Lawmakers from Valley criticize proposal



Published: Wed, March 16, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

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State Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd

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Rep. Robert F. Hagan, D-Youngstown. (AP Photo/Larry Phillips)

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State Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-Liberty)

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Gov. John Kasich wants to balance the state’s biennium budget at the expense of local governments and school systems, and uses too many one-shot deals, said Mahoning Valley members of the state Legislature.

Kasich’s budget includes cutting $555 million from the Local Government Fund, which goes to counties, cities, villages and townships.

There’s also an 11.5 percent cut in K-12 education for fiscal year 2012 and a 4.9 percent cut for fiscal year 2013. That includes one-time federal stimulus money that is expiring.

Without that federal money, Kasich’s budget increases funding by 1.4 percent in 2012 and by 1.3 percent in 2013.

“It is going to put a lot of pressure on local governments and public schools to raise revenue,” said state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd. “I understand cuts have to be made, but I don’t believe in cutting schools and local governments.”

State Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, said Kasich claims he’s a job creator, but his budget proposal tells a different story.

“When he cuts Local Government Fund money he is forcing cities and counties to lay off workers and that doesn’t create jobs,” Hagan said. “The taxpayers are going to get screwed.”

Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd, said she was “deeply concerned that the governor’s decision to slash funding to local governments will put a tremendous strain on communities.”

Kasich, a Republican, wants to sell five state prisons for $200 million and lease the state’s liquor- distribution system to Jobs-Ohio, an organization the governor created to handle the state’s economic development activities.

“There are quite a few one-time money proposals in the budget,” said state Rep. Tom Letson of Warren, D-64th.

The liquor-distribution proposal would raise about $1.2 billion under Kasich’s plan, but was valued at $2.8 billion to $3 billion four years ago, Letson said.

Kasich also wants to close four honor-work camps for nonviolent offenders, including the Trumbull Correctional Institution in Leavittsburg.

Those offenders would either join the general population or be transferred elsewhere, including the vacant Marion County facility.

That plan would save $6.69 million over two years, according to Kasich’s budget.

Schiavoni and state Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th, said they were disappointed Kasich didn’t include video slot machines at the state’s seven horse racetracks in his budget proposal.

Penn National Gaming Inc. wants to relocate its harness track in Toledo to a $200 million facility it would build in Austintown. But company officials say they’ll only do that if the state legalizes slot machines at racetracks.

Schiavoni said he’s considering a proposal to move the slot machine issue through the Legislature.

The plan would require the House and the Senate to pass a resolution with a three-fifths majority to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to legalize slots at racetracks.


Comments

1tonne(199 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

It seems to me our local leaders are standing firm more so on their party beliefs than on what might actually do some good. They don't seem to be very willing to work with Kasich or give his plan a chance. Just a week or so ago, Hagan was blasting Kasich for not begging President Obama for more stimulus money. Didn't stimulus spending under Strickland contribute to our current problems? So how is spending more borrowed money going to help now? This budget is a proposal. Isn't it their responsibility to review it and work out compromises that might include some of what they want as well as some of what he wants? Isn't that what being a legislator is all about? I am so tired of this "us against them" approach of both parties that causes so much gridlock that nothing gets done and nothing changes in any level of government from national on down. I'm ready to help any other candidate from any other party get elected in the hope that doing so will finally move things forward for our country, our state and our community. These so-called leaders, who behave like children squabbling on a playground, need to be taught a lesson and they need to grow up.

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2palbubba(664 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

As usual, when you have no solutions the only thing you have left is to critcize your opponent. All the local so called legislators have no solutions, so they criticize. If gambling were the answer why is PA in such a mess financially? The gambling income has not solved their problems. It is amazing to me that all the local legislators talk of raising income, while none have any cost cutting solutions. What a joke.

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3JerryP(19 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I hope those supporting Kasich are financially stable enough to be able to shoulder the burden of the additional taxes and levies that are going to need to be implemented at the local level to make up for the cuts in his budget.

Kasich didn't actually cut overall spending and certainly didn't solve anything with his new budget, all he did was shift the burden of the deficit from the state level to the local level, creating a whole new myriad of issues which will bear significant financial implications.

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