One thing that hasn't changed in the Senate's budget revisions are the cuts. While they did manage to find another $100 million or so, that still leaves schools across the state suffering from an estimated $3 billion shortfall over the next 2 years. The results of which we are starting to see now as districts cut, cut, cut, cut and cut some more.
One of the plans the administration has in the budget was to lease the state liquer business and use those receipts to fund its new economic development program, "JobsOhio". The plan had been to lease it for $1.2 billion. Now it turns out that a people are starting to question whether that's a low ball number, and that maybe this valuable state asset could be worth a lot more. Hundreds of millions of dollars more in fact.
The state of Ohio needs to jack up the $1.2 billion price on its state liquor operations before selling them off to the newly hatched JobsOhio economic development board later this year.
That's the conclusion of Republican Sen. Tim Grendell and the Center for Community Solutions, a public policy think tank. Both have popped up in recent days with criticisms that the proposed $1.2 billion price tag for the state's liquor monopoly is far too low.
By some estimates the price might be $800 million too low. Sen. Grendell wants to amend the budget to increase the price to $1.5 billion and divert that extra $300 million to education. The Governor, through his spokesperson is having none of it.
Nichols also responded in an e-mail that creating jobs was more important than expanding government.
"For those who really understand that job creation is Ohio's greatest need right now, then the right focus is on making sure JobsOhio has every resource it needs to help create jobs and revive Ohio's economy," he wrote. "Ensuring a fair transaction on the liquor enterprise is a given, but a preoccupation with that to the detriment of JobsOhio's success is just another example of people failing to realize that creating jobs is more important than growing government."
This is nonsensical. Getting more money from the sale of a state asset in order to preserve thousands of middle class education jobs is economic development. To block this move and call it "growing government" is incomprehensible, and should cause everyone to pause and consider what the administrations true motives are.
Ohio Budget Watch has more on this privatization scheme.