The mid-biennium review launched by John Kasich has been likened to the congressional budget process, lawmakers annually developing spending plans, getting away from the traditional two-year state cycle. The governor may be more comfortable with the patterns from his days as the chairman of the House Budget Committee. One concern is: Turn state lawmakers loose on a mountain of policy changes and spending plans, and dubious ideas too easily slip past and into the measure that becomes law.
Take state Sen. Bill Coley, a Butler County Republican, trying again to attach a provision that would bar school districts from challenging property valuations they deem too low. The proposal was pulled from the two-year budget bill last summer. Now Republicans in charge of the state Senate have engineered its revival.
Coley, with the support of Keith Faber, the Senate president, apparently thinks that districts somehow are misusing challenges, seeking and gaining money that shouldn’t flow their way. Actually, the challenges are fair and right, and that goes for commercial enterprises, too, as they seek what they see as a needed correction.
The Coley position would be helped if he presented an analysis showing systemic abuse on the part of districts. Such an evaluation has yet to surface. More, districts hardly just get their way. They must make a case, and prevail at the board of tax appeals.
Thankfully, William Batchelder appears to grasp why districts, along with others, should be permitted to make challenges. At a minimum, the idea deserves more vetting. It shouldn’t survive the conference committee.
Another item that does not deserve passage would require cities and villages with an income tax to report to the state annual breakdowns of revenue generated by resident and nonresident taxpayers. Again, the thinking seems to be that someone is getting away with something.
For starters, this measure should part of legislation pending in the Senate Finance Committee that seeks to streamline and rework municipal tax collections. In addition, Faber and allies might recall that city officials are elected, and thus accountable to residents, who can toss them from office if they are unhappy with their actions.
Then, there is another provision that won’t go away, allowing chiropractors to clear young athletes to play after suffering a concussion. This long ago appeared settled, following much discussion, all sides with input. The conclusion? Better to have physicians, with their greater training and skills, make the call.
Add to the list the appearance of a provision that would establish a severe setback requirement for wind turbines. It would have the practical effect of shrinking sharply the wind industry in the state, and thus, at the least, deserves more discussion.
Perhaps the conference committee will clean up these and other messes. Then again, there is the possibility of things getting worse, new items without merit making their appearance, leaving the final clean-up to the governor and his veto pen.