Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Array of organizations changing political and legislative landscape in Ohio

It's not your imagination: the game is changing

COASTers felt mighty lonely during the George Voinovich and Bob Taft years in Governor's mansion. Year after year, the latest budget crisis was universally met with one solution: higher taxes and increased spending.

What a change it has been this year! What happened?

First, we have better elected officials. With John Kasich as Governor, Tom Niehaus leading the Senate and Bill Batchelder leading the House, a limited government agenda seems to rule the day.

Second, we have a public that was burned once by Voinovich, a second time by Bob Taft, and the horrible legislatures that served under each of them. They weren't going to tolerate yet another administration selling out the taxpayers.

Third, several state-wide organizations are educating voters, and holding legislators' and the Governor's feet to the fire. Here are just a few:
  • Ohio's Buckeye Institute is a think tank that has cranked out scholarly studies showing the negative effect of Ohio's anti-competitive taxes and regulations on residents and businesses. Recently they have rolled out their state-wide salary databases that graphically show the bloated public salaries throughout Ohio and empower local citizens to fight the excesses. The database has gotten 3.5 million hits since launched just 16 months ago.
  • The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has pursued aggressive legal strategies of enforcing the state and federal constitutional limitations on government authority and formulating legislative proposals to implement a conservative agenda. The 1851 Center drafted the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment that will be on the ballot this fall. They especially focus on area of economic freedoms. COASTer Chris Finney sits on the Board of Directors of the 1851 Center.
  • Americans for Prosperity, Ohio Chapter. This national organization that has helped immeasurably on budget and regulatory measures, has a significant Ohio presence. It's executive director Rebecca Heimlichhas traveled the state to rally citizens on issue of local, state and national interest. AFP-Ohio helped secure the repeal of the Ohio Estate Tax, and assisted COAST in cutting off $52 million in state funding for the Cincinnati Streetcar project.
These organizations, along with COAST, the Tea Parties, Empower U and others are working hand-in-hand with our elected officials to force the kinds of changes Ohio desperately needs to become competitive for jobs and residents going forward.

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