• 46°

State shouldn’t seek handouts

Unable to come up with a viable plan to curb Ohio’s shrinking revenue and swelling expenses state leaders are considering asking for handouts to run the government.

This shows exactly how far Ohio — once one of the most prosperous and economically stable states — has fallen, with a proposal that would get the government involved in essentially asking taxpayers to hand over more money under the guise of donations.

A last-minute budget amendment supported by Gov. Ted Strickland would allow state agencies to create and run their own non-profit organizations to raise money and seek in-kind contributions.

Existing non-profits are worried that this will diminish their ability to gather funds as well as opening the door to abuse, favoritism and corruption.

And they are absolutely right. Government has no place in this arena and should learn to live within its means like the average American citizen.

This proposal, which passed in the House but will likely face significant opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, is filled with problems.

First, it will certainly increase the potential for lobbyists and other organizations to gain favors with state agencies. If a company or individual is a key donor to a state agency’s non-profit branch, it is very possible that company could get special treatment.

Strickland spokespeople said companies that do business with state agencies would not be able to donate to those agencies, and donors and employees of state-run non-profits would be required to disclose potential conflicts. But the reality is that these types of donations can be masked and disguised.

Secondly, this will potentially diminish non-profits from getting help because state agencies could devour donation dollars just to provide services that tax dollars are already paying for.

Government should work toward managing what it already has rather than seeking handouts.