...and the technical term for what it promises to be is "doozy." There's an $8,000,000,000 hole in the budget that needs to be filled (Ohio requires balanced budgets), and despite polling suggesting that Kasich could get away with raising taxes to fill it the Governor apparently won't. It's expected that the budget will cover the gap by privatization programs (including selling some prisons), leasing out state highways, large budget cuts across the board, and projected revenue increases. This is not going to be popular - according to the above poll, Kasich is already at 40% - but, as the Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register bluntly puts it, "The money has run out."
I know that some Democratic politicians (and their sycophants, particularly their New Media ones) are licking their chops at the idea of watching their political opposite numbers do unpopular things to fix the economy. Not to ruin their mornings - oh, this is a lie; this is totally about ruining their mornings - but said politicians and sycophants may wish to consider the larger implications of recent elections. Put bluntly: the country has put in power on the state level a lot of people who do not care if they are loved for their actions. These people have internalized two lessons (one from the Democrats, and one from the Republicans):
- (Democrats) It's amazing what you can accomplish if you don't take political survival into consideration. Sure, Obamacare's a monstrosity of a bill that's waiting its turn at the Supreme Court unconstitutional buzzsaw - but it did pass, and we do have to deal with it now. Imagine what can be done with that kind of sheer political will if it was used for good. Well, a lot of Republican state legislators already have.
- (Republicans) If you're going to be hated for what you do anyway, you might as well put your backs into the effort. I suspect that in twenty, thirty years the prevailing wisdom among political historians is going to be that the one election that the Democrats absolutely needed to win and didn't in this time period was the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race. Chris Christie's example of in-your-face-with-a-happy-smile has been at minimum an inspiration for Republicans over the last two years.
Will it all work? Depends on your definition of 'work.' Some of these folks aren't going to get re-elected. But they are going to do a lot until they get the boot - and the more they do, the harder it's going to be for the Democrats to reverse things when they finally get trusted with the keys again. Assuming that they'll really want to: as the GWOT shows, the Other Side is not adverse to casually dropping their rhetoric as soon as they're actually in power and quietly adopting the policies of their hated domestic enemies*.
At any rate, the budget will be revealed at noon (you'll be able to see it here) [UPDATE: I got word that this is wrong: it'll be revealed at a town hall at 6:15. You'll be able to see it here], and Kasich will be on television tonight to discuss it. Should be memorable.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Usually badly, but that's an entirely different post.