September – Week 2 Summary

10 Sep

September 3, 2011

  • Like so many other states, Ohio was experiencing some budgetary pains, not enough money coming in and too much going out. Something had to be done, so like many other states, asked their local governments and public employees to tighten their belts. Ohio’s Republican Senate therefore passed a budget that severely cut funding to the tune of millions of dollars from local governments as well as SB5 that allowed said local governments to cope with the loss of funding by paying less wages and benefits to public employees. If one were to agree to go along with this plan they might think to themselves, “I’m sure the Senate will practice the same belt tightening to do their part.” Well, that would be a naive thought, as the rules don’t apply to them. A little history on the Ohio Senate’s behavior, in 2009, when tax income was low, the Strickland administration, including the Governor, gave up ten days of pay while the Republican controlled Senate chose to continue receiving their pay. Additionally, in 2009 and 2011, legislation was proposed to cut the pay of future legislators by a paltry 5%, it was turned down. While the Senate may not be able to increase their own pay, something that requires legislation, they did manage to provide their staff with retroactive increases from 12 to 37%. Another kicker, only the staff of Republicans received these increases, none of the staff of the minority caucus received it. It’s okay to ask your constituents and underlings to take pay cuts and tighten their belts with pay cuts. But if someone suggests you do the same to contribute, out of the question for you and your staff. (Full story on Plunderbund)
September 6, 2011
  • More state budget fun, here we go. As most of you may know, Texas is experiencing some hellish wildfires, already these fires have consumed nearly 2.5 million acres. I can only imagine the destruction to the environment, homes, and lives that these fires risk. Thank goodness the Texas Forest Service is going to have $34 million cut from its budget over the next two years, wait, what? Both the House and the Senate versions of the state’s budget proposal include these very same cuts. I hope I’m not the only one that sees the irony behind this, considering to cut the funding from the very group of nearly 200 firefighters trying to control these wildfires, while they’re happening. But that’s not all, this money also would go toward assistance grants to volunteer fire departments. Two volunteer firefighters have already been killed fighting these blazes and the volunteer force makes up almost 80 percent of the state’s fire-fighting force. Here’s the real kicker, a month ago, before the consideration was being made to cut funding for fire-fighting and while the fires were just getting underway, Rick Perry and the Texas congressional delegation requested that Obama grant a disaster declaration to provide federal funds to cover the fire-fighting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for my tax dollars going to help states fight wildfires, regardless of the state, this is all our country and we must work together to protect it. However, don’t ask for financial help with fire fighting mere weeks before you slash your fire fighting budget. Seems kind of illogical for a Republican to be asking for assistance like that, doesn’t that go against everything they stand for, smaller government and all? (Full story on Politico)
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Weekly Summary


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