Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Dec. 13
Five months into the fiscal year, Ohio’s general fund budget already has a shortfall of more than $360 million. Gov. John Kasich is warning the state is “on the verge of a recession .”
In the context of a $36.3 billion budget for the year, that gap may not seem large…
But there are signs revenue shortfalls may be increasing month by month, and there are seven months left in the fiscal year..
State Budget Director Tim Keen has said financial “cushions” built into the budget should keep the state out of the red for the current year, however.
Still, revenue shortfalls do not bode well for Kasich and lawmakers as they begin thinking about a new two-year budget, to be enacted next spring. Kasich has said he plans to reveal his budget proposal early in 2017…
Revenue shortfalls often bring calls for tax increases, especially from bureaucrats who don’t like to be told they have to trim spending.
But if Kasich is right — if Ohio indeed is teetering on the edge of a recession — the last thing the economy needs is a tax increase. In fact, taking more money out of the pockets of hard-working Buckeye State residents and job-creating businesses could push the economy over the edge.
The governor and legislators should keep that in mind in planning a new two-year budget.
The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, Dec. 18
Ohio Board of Education members made a prudent vote Tuesday to hold off on implementing new graduation requirements…
The board voted … to delay the pre-graduation tests that would have meant fewer current juniors would graduate…
State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria will now lead a committee … which will recommend the best course of action to the school board this spring…
What we have in this situation is another clear example of state officials failing to coordinate — or at least consult with — any school officials on a local level. While lawmakers’ quest to improve education and standards is admirable, the state’s execution has routinely earned an F. New standards are a good and necessary idea, but not having a better grip on the way those standards will affect students … as well as how they will be implemented, is the height of folly.
That being said, the board’s move … to suspend the higher graduation standards should only be temporary. More time — and communication — is clearly needed for a smoother roll out, but settling for lower long-term standards is not acceptable. … The bill … was designed to better help students enter the workforce and college… Having students not just graduate, but graduate fully prepared to continue their education or workforce training, must be the state’s — and educators’ — ultimate goal.
The Blade, Dec. 17
There is no better term than “moonshot” to describe the extraordinarily ambitious goal of doing 10 years’ worth of research in half that time to find a cure for cancer. The fact that President Obama just signed into law a bill to do just that … is, in itself, a testament to the 21st Century Cures Act.
The new law will invest $1.8 billion in the Cancer Moonshot Task Force…
The bill also has in it $1 billion for opioid abuse prevention and another $4.8 billion for biomedical research. The new law provides funding to improve mental health access and services, as well…
The toll that the opioid epidemic and cancer have taken on American families and communities is immeasurable. Our lawmakers are to be commended for responding.
But can we really beat opioids?
Can we really beat cancer?
Recall that at one time going to the moon seemed impossible. But President John F. Kennedy said we would do it, and we did. It happened in 1969.
Though there was little bipartisan cooperation during the Obama Administration, the signing of this bill into law was the exception that proves we can work together, and make progress, in politics and policy, when we have clear and common goals.
The Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 16
What does Donald Trump intend for American policy toward Russia? The president-elect has not been clear, let alone precise. His posture during the campaign, including kind words for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, about showing strong leadership, could be summed up in these words last spring: “If we can make a great deal for our country and get along with Russia, that would be a tremendous thing. I would love to try it.” Is he trying now with some of his early staff and Cabinet appointments?
… Much attention rightly has focused on the intelligence community and FBI concluding that Russia, by infiltrating and sharing the email of Democratic officials, attempted to swing the election to Trump…The allegation merits forming an independent commission with full investigative powers. Yet this entire matter concerns less what happened to Hillary Clinton, or the outcome of the election (many factors in the equation), than the way forward in relations with Russia…
The president-elect himself has ties to Russia through his businesses, his son noting not too long ago that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”
… One question for the president-elect and his choice for secretary of state is whether they favor lifting the sanctions as part of pursuing a “great deal” and getting along…