Government has no place in sales

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, June 20, 2009

As the state of Ohio struggles to find new revenue sources, state leaders are looking at new and creative — and not always so good — ideas to fill the coffers.

Some solutions that are under consideration simply do not make sense and could create great potential for abuse and a breakdown of accountability to the taxpayers and voters.

The budget, Amended Substitute House Bill 1, as passed by the Ohio Senate allows any and all county government offices to sell commercial advertising on their Web sites, including links to and from commercial Web sites.

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The Tribune joins the Ohio Newspaper Association in opposing this practice for a variety of reasons.

Government would be creating commercial Web sites in direct competition with private enterprises

This concept presents the potential for abuse and misconduct as county offices would be allowed to solicit advertising from the same companies that are trying to get government contracts or the same business people who may be contributing to the political campaigns of elected county officials

This concept allows government to set up its own internal revenue stream, away from the oversight of taxpayers

This concept allows government to operate with non-tax revenue, setting up the potential of avoiding voters whenever additional county revenue is needed

This is a conflict of interest that violates the separation of the public sector from the private sector.

We urge our state leaders to make sure these provisions are removed before the budget bill is reconciled between the House and Senate to go for a final vote.

Government needs to remain accountable to the taxpayers rather than looking at uncontrollable revenue streams that could be abused.