Ohio Governor John Kasich released his budget proposal on Tuesday, and it has received mixed reviews. Republicans say the cuts aren’t as bad many people expected, and spread out the sacrifices the economically hard hit state must make. This new spending plan allocates a total of $55 billion dollars, or $5 billion
more than what was allocated in last year’s plan. The state loses out on $8 billion dollars in one-time allocations, most of it federal funding from the stimulus bill. But Kasich campaigned saying he would not raise taxes, and he says he’s sticking to his word.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats say what Kasich is calling a “jobs budget” is actually a job-killing budget. Union members in Ohio and in several other states are upset about proposals to limit collective bargaining rights as a cost cutting measure. Another concern opponents have is what the budget cuts to education will mean, or rather how many layoffs it will mean. Even though the two-year budget proposal includes a slight increase for K-12 education, the loss of federal stimulus dollars means an overall drop of about 12% in basic aid support for Ohio’s schools in 2012, they say.
Meanwhile thousands of demonstrators invaded the Michigan capital as part of a union sponsored protest. They’re opposing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s budget plan, which includes a proposal to tax pensions and also weakens the collective bargaining rights of union members.
So could Springfield be the next union protest hotspot? Probably not, though Illinois does have its own budget woes. Changing state employee benefits wasn’t an issue raised by Governor Pat Quinn in his budget address, but it has been brought up at the state capital.