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Kasich right to bet conservatively on gambling

Published 9:29am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ohio officials will hedge their bets on state revenue from casino gambling, Gov. John Kasich revealed this week.

That is wiser than the attitude adopted in some states, of wishful thinking similar to that of a compulsive gambler.

Four years ago, as the Buckeye State was being primed to accept casino gambling, officials estimated four table gambling venues would bring in as much as $1.9 billion a year for the state.

But Kasich, in outlining his two-year budget proposal this week, included less than $1 billion a year from the casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.

The new estimate is, in a word, more realistic than pie-in-the-sky claims from a few years ago. It takes into account competition for gamblers, both within and outside Ohio. It also factors in lower-than-expected revenue from the three casinos already in operation.

Again, skepticism about gambling revenue is far from widespread. But Kasich and state legislators are wise to assume the state’s “take” from gambling will be less than initially predicted. That will avoid headaches later.

The Marietta Times

 

Governor’s budget ignores needs of local government

Gov. John Kasich’s second two-year budget is much like the first in that it expects local governments to basically fend for themselves.

Although the biennium spending blueprint the governor has submitted to the General Assembly contains a small increase in the Local Government Fund, the proposed allocation does not restore the deep cuts made in the two fiscal years that began July 2011.

The total 50-percent reduction in what local governments had received in the prior biennium caused significant disruptions in counties, cites, townships and villages across the state.

(W)hen Kasich and his fiscal team unveiled the upcoming two-year spending plan, they touted the fact that Ohio is looking forward to a rainy day fund (surplus) of nearly $2 billion this year.

Not surprisingly, state legislators, who have to return home and face not only their constituents but local government officials, are wondering why some of the surplus isn’t being used to restore funding to the pre-2011 levels….

The legislative hearing on the governor’s budget should last about a month….Legislators should invite local government officials, such as those from the Mahoning Valley, to explain how the deep cuts in the Local Government Fund have affected their operations.

In the end, the health, safety and welfare of the people of Ohio must remain a priority.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator

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