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A Million Here or There

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square -A Million Dollars Here or There

A Million Dollars Here or There

The state is in a big budget crunch.  Some want immediate tax increases. Got an extra million to help?

"More taxes," that's what some are crying. "We've got no choice."  Well, on occasion taxes are the best answer to a crisis -- but, and I said but -- before we go there let's see if we can find a few dollars stuck behind the cushions of the couch.

The State Superintendent of Schools makes over $200,000 a year, that's $75,000 more than the Governor and a good bit more than the U.S. Secretary of Defense.  So, how about if we just let her make $20,000 more than the Governor, which over the next two years would save us about $40,000. Then we could take the cost of the Speaker of the House's latest purchase for a new SUV and his Crown Victoria and a new flat screen TV and that would save us another $62,000.

Then we could drop the $700,000 that the Governor spent on a tourism ad campaign in which he just happened to appear. And add that all up and that's about $802,000. We invest that wisely -- about $900,000 over the next two years. Just about one million dollars in savings in less than two minutes.

The real problem in Ohio isn't that taxes are too low. The problem is our elected officials are stuck in some very poor patterns of thinking about basic economics. The story of Ohio's financial crisis could be sub-titled, "A million here and a million there and pretty soon you've got a crisis."

In case you're wondering, many of those elected officials listen to this program and they have their staffers check our website regularly. They get really upset when we talk like this. I'm not getting many Christmas cards from Columbus these days, but that's ok. They should save the cost of the card, and the printing and the postage and add it to shrink the deficit.

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