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Rep Antonio: MBR Should Fix Budget Mistakes, Not Prioritize Politics

Community, transparency measures tabled in favor of political gamesmanship
April 10, 2014
Democrat Newsroom

State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) today on Wednesday in opposition to part of the state’s mid-biennium review, House Bill 483. Noting that the original intent of the MBR is to fix mistakes in last year’s state budget, Democrats offered several amendments that highlighted community needs and reversed previous harmful legislation.

“I am proud to have offered an amendment during committee to remove the egregious extortion language in the MBR regarding a blatant attack on voters' rights and the rights of local governments and specifically Cuyahoga County,” said Rep. Antonio.

Democrats also pushed to remove what they call the “Kasich-Adelson Amendment” that dismantles campaign finance rules that restrict pay-to-play donations for state contracts. Under the GOP’s “Kasich/Adelson Amendment,” foreign and non-foreign corporations could legally dump unlimited money into political campaigns supporting the same officials who directed resources to the company.

In essence, Republican officials who decide what companies get taxpayer grants and incentives through JobsOhio would now have the ability to be rewarded by those companies with few restrictions. Ultimately, the Democratic amendment was tabled on party lines.

Faced with the potential for greater pay-to-play donations in politics, Democrats renewed their call for transparency and accountability at JobsOhio through a series of amendments that would:

-Disclose corporate donations coming in to JobsOhio.
-Report financial assistance to businesses and corporate donations online.
-Require a public audit of JobsOhio.
-Create an independent inspector general and whistleblower protections for employees.

Those amendments were also tabled on party lines.

House Democrats offered multiple amendments throughout the MBR process to highlight community needs and fix mistakes in last year’s state budget. Among the amendments was a proposal to reverse the $1 billion in cuts to local communities and create a “Snowy Day Fund” to help with winter weather-related repairs.

Other Democratic amendments offered would have:

-Called off Gov. Kasich’s unsafe restrictions on food access by restoring the SNAP waiver to individuals in all 88 Ohio counties
-Invested $20 million in early childhood education

All Democratic amendments were “tabled” by GOP members of the committee, so the proposals did not even receive formal consideration or debate.