Statehouse Republicans have been in a self-congratulatory mode since passage of the $62 billion, two-year state budget. They cite the vanquishing of a massive budget hole — without raising taxes. What they do not readily explain is that they did raise revenue by keeping for the state large sums that would have flowed to local governments and school districts.
They also appear especially proud of replenishing a state “rainy day” fund that was practically empty when John Kasich arrived in the governor’s office. They hardly seem to tire of reminding that a mere 89 cents remained in the jar.
They quickly add that the sum now exceeds $1 billion, even getting close to $2 billion, depending on the calculation. You would think no administration or legislature had performed such a feat.
Worth noting is that the “rainy fund’ topped $1 billion before the bottom dropped out of the economy. The depletion, in other words, wasn’t part of some episode in gross mismanagement.
It was raining, heavily, and the fund was put to its purpose, helping to provide a cushion in bumpy times. If anything, many Ohioans still feel the precipitation, school districts squeezed, along with college students, the state more than 200,000 jobs below its pre-recession levels of employment. Spare a portion of that surplus?