COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE) – Ohio voters swept Democrats out of all statewide offices in November and replaced them with Republicans, whose collective campaign mantra has been to cut government spending, reduce taxes and fight the imposition of so-called Obamacare on Ohioans. Included in the big switch was control of the Ohio House, where Republicans, forced into minority status just two years ago, are now back in command of the people’s chamber by a commanding majority.
During their two years wondering in the wilderness of powerlessness, Republicans claimed that consolidating government as a means to reduce spending while increasing efficiency and effectiveness was a sound policy that would open the door to growth and prosperity if also coupled with other cuts in state spending and reduced taxes.
Leading the charge for consolidation of state government, a proposal Democrats gave no serious consideration to even though they held a hearing on it that violated traditional protocol of first allowing proponents to make their case before opponents could make theirs, was John Adams (R-Sidney), a small businessman and forcer Navy Seal, who will be the Majority Whip in the 129th General Assembly, where Republicans, under the leadership of long-time House Member and now Speaker William Batchelder, will revisit all the bills Republicans pushed that Democrats let die for lack of food and water.
Adams, speaking to CGE last year at Gov. Strickland’s final State of the State address, said he was open to discussing limiting the days the Ohio legislature is in session. Ohio’s General Assembly is among the leaders of state legislatures that have the longest sessions. While an original colony state like Maryland has a legislature that meets for 90 days and goes home, or one like Kentucky where lawmakers meet in limited sessions, Ohio lawmakers, and the lobbyists who lobby them, enjoy a legislative cycle that is among the longest of all states.
Operating expenses for Ohio House, Senate
While writing a state budget that patches an estimated $8-10 billion hole without raising taxes, reconfiguring Ohio congressional districts and state districts so ensure GOP candidates win in them for another ten years and surgically removing the power state worker unions use in bargaining session, one major change that could go a long way towards letting the policy cream rise top while cutting operating costs at the same time would be to make Ohio’s General Assembly a part-time effort.
Operating expenses for the Ohio House of Representatives, which cover payments of salaries, wages, supplements and fringe benefits of its 99 members and 160 plus full time staff, have fluctuated up and down over the past four years, according to the LSC Redbook Analysis of the Executive Budget Proposal.
Actual expenses in 2006 were $18,937,078. In the three succeeding years, expenses went down 5.4 percent then up 4.3 percent than down 1.4 percent, respectively. The 2010 appropriation went up again 0.5 percent to $18,517, 093, and is expected to flat line for 2011.
Over 93.3 percent comes from the General Revenue Fund, with the remainder from the General Services Fund. Personal services gobbled up 86.3 percent.
Total House staff, including members (99), administrative (165), and Pages (40), totaled 304 for 2010.
Senate operating expenses for the 33 members of the Ohio Senate and their staffs have also fluctuated, but not nearly as much when compared to the House.
Actual expenses in 2006 were $10,811,089. In the following three years, expenses went down 2.3 percent, then down again 0.4 percent then increased 0.3 percent, respectively. The appropriation for 2010 was $10,911,095, about $100,000 higher than four years ago, and is projected to flat line for 2011.
Over 96 percent comes from the General Revenue Fund, with the remainder from the General Services Fund. Personal services gobbled up 86 percent.
Total Senate staff, including members (33), administrative (125) and Pages (40), totaled 198 for 2010.
When the new General Assembly swears itself in on Monday, Jan. 3, and talks about what it’s going to do to save the state from falling even further, will the 132 members (63% are Republicans) look in the mirror when they start cutting government spending?
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