Gov. John Kasich campaigned on the idea of smaller government. However, the first-term Republican governor’s budget bill includes a proposal to allow government bodies to sell advertising on their websites.
That not only smacks of more government, but would mean competing with private industry — namely newspapers, television stations and radio stations that serve Ohio consumers.
The Ohio Association of Broadcasters and Ohio Chamber of Commerce have joined the Ohio Newspaper Association in opposing this measure.
Kasich has said he is in favor of reducing the size of government and creating private-sector jobs. If he means that, he should not be opening the door to government competition with a private-sector activity.
Media websites tend to be the leading sources of information in the communities they serve. Most have free access, but only because they are supported by advertising.
If government agencies get into the publishing business, this could foster conflicts of interest with vendors and others who seek government dollars while distracting government officials from their core functions.
This is not the first time this idea has come forward. Former Gov. Ted Strickland vetoed a similar provision when it landed on his desk a few years ago.
We support removal of government website advertising language from House Bill 153. Contact your state legislators and let them know that you also oppose this bill.