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New Years Eve 2001

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - New Years Eve 2001

New Years Eve 2001

Just a few more hours left in 2001. Without a doubt September 11th changed the political landscape in America and Ohio. In some ways it brought out the best of our people. And in other ways, the response to being at war has exposed dangerous cracks in our political infrastructure.

Here in Ohio our state budget has been the play toy of politicians, the Supreme Court and angry plaintiffs for the past ten years. The school funding crowd has drained billions of tax dollars into the education bureaucracy and their lawyer's pockets by endlessly pursuing the DeRolph case. When the economy took a double hit from September 11th,  the budget of Ohio went into a major nosedive. What we had been saving for a rainy day disappeared. The promise of billions of dollars to satisfy the DeRolph special interest lobby suddenly evaporated. And we all got a look at just how weak our state budget can become.

Now politicians are scrambling. They haven't found the courage to admit they have been serving too many masters for the past ten years. So they are looking for more taxes, more gambling dollars, more of anything to cover over the cracks in the state budget.  And they are looking for ways around the Constitution, if necessary, to get more money in a hurry.

The biggest issue of 2001 was September 11th - without a doubt. The second biggest issue in Ohio was how September 11th pulled back the curtain on the political games being played with our tax dollars in Columbus. Even to the point where elected officials and Supreme Court justices are now willing to scoff at the Constitution if the price is right. Sometimes tragedy brings out the best and the worst in people.

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