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.