What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

For Sale, One State, Slightly Used

Dear Fellow Ohioans,

Governor Kasich is about to give our state away.

In his new budget he cuts the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel by 50% which yields no savings to the tax payer as the OCC is funded by assessments on utilities. The OCC is your voice in fighting utilities (see bullet point that over the past 2 years they have saved you $54.5 million directly, and $1.9 billion through other actions - not tax savings, but your money). The savings all go to those utilities, not a dime to the budget. This is a classic giveaway.

He signed in a new bill to enforce performance audits on the state government (spending more money, but for MBAs, which I guess is okay) but excluding the governor's office form those audits. See my earlier post and comment about Six Sigma Blackbelt mentality.

Gov. Kasich is going to privatize 5 more state prisons and redirect funds form state liquor sales to JobsOhio. JobsOhio, you may remember, was the privatization of the Ohio Growth Counsel (a public entity, now replaced by a private non-profit corporation, but still funded with your tax dollars and about raise more money with a bond that will be secured with your tax dollars). JobsOhio also isn't beholden to you, the tax payor, the person funding this corporation. Sunshine Laws don't apply here. Also, there's no legislative oversight. This non-profit is spending your taxes, putting you on the hook for even more taxes, and you have no say as to its actions and no recourse against it.

Have I mentioned he's also revised talks of leasing the turnpike? You know, the plan that was eventually exposed as a bad deal for the state. But, hey, it'll sure balance the books this year, just not 3-25 years down the road.

And now there is this. Hidden away in the 3000+ page budget (hmm, no one shouting about how it's too large, considering it's almost 1000 pages longer than the Heath Care Reform Act? Shocked, shocked I am...) is a little provision that allow the OBM (Office of Budget and Management, a cabinet position, ie. unelected) to basically privatize any part of your state government, without oversight, without appeal, and not in the public eye. The Gov. says the group exposing this has too many ties to former Gov. Strickland's administration and so won't dignify the question with a response.

Ah, come on Gov. Dignify it with a "No."

I'll say it again, privatization of government service has never produced a cost savings, never increase "customer" satisfaction, never reduced fraud and abuse, never accomplished any of the touted goals. It has, however, made many people very rich (just not those who are doing the actual work).

Wake up, Ohioans. You're state is about to be corporatized. And all the mechanisms which helped protect your interests are being dismantled.

You know how people on the right like to shout "socialism" at the drop of a hat. Welcome to the reverse. You're government is going on a fire sale. It looks to be the most radical giveaway to corporate profits ever seen.

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