The deal has finally been closed, and the state of Ohio has a new two-year budget. The proposed cuts to libraries were scaled back by two-thirds, to about 11%. All told, library funding is expected to drop between 25-30% from last year.
This is still not a good situation, but libraries are still better off than many other state services.
It didn’t have to be this way. The budget process was confrontational, and most people have a bad taste in their mouth. Most of this was due to the inflexibility and charged rhetoric coming from the Governor. I suspect that we will revisit this episode during next year’s election, and that Ted Strickland will not be viewed favorably as a result of his words and actions.
Because I feel strongly that criticism should be joined with the responsibility of offering one’s own solutions, I feel that the option of a temporary sales tax increase (not affecting food or drug purchases) would have provided a reliable cash flow without negatively impacting those least able to cope. This was never even included as a possibility by the Governor, perhaps because of next year’s election, and we have a controversial gambling plan plus drastic cuts in libraries and social services as a result.
Ohio residents: is your voter registration current? If not, make it so, and remember everyone’s words and actions when you make your choices next year.
some sources found via SaveOhioLibraries