State’s lack of initiative led to bad decisions

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slot machines at seven Ohio racetracks are a done deal. Gov. Ted Strickland wants them and state legislators supported him.

In our opinion, lawmakers’ decision to cave in to the governor’s proposal was the final chapter in a sorry, unacceptable process of devising a state budget for the next two years. Strickland and legislators put off making hard decisions on spending until so late that they believed they had no choice but to approve new gambling in Ohio, in order to balance the budget.

Ohio’s budget is based in part on overriding the will of the people. Three times, Ohio voters have rejected expansions of legalized gambling. Yet with a few strokes of the pen, Strickland and legislators approved as many as 17,500 video slot machines at racetracks. …

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… Strickland believes slot machines will generate $933 million for the two-year, $54 billion budget. With just a few days to come up with options, his opponents were unable to find viable alternatives.

State officials have known for many months that the budget would be difficult to balance. Yet critical decisions concerning it were put off until earlier this summer. As a result, bad choices were made …

We hope history will not repeat itself two years from now. …

The Marietta Times