Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Raiding funds for Strickland's nebulus 'stimulus'

Legislators in Columbus proved they CAN act quickly when they want to. Yesterday they voted to move tobacco funds out of the foundation which administers them so that the foundation couldn't transfer the money to non-profits out of the reach of state government.

And now it begins...the bickering, scrambling and maybe even court battles over who gets to decide how to spend the money.

Perhaps I'm really off-base, but I thought the whole purpose of the lawsuit against the tobacco companies by the states was to ensure that future medical costs from this 'addiction' would be paid for by the companies and not the state - hence the huge settlement.

But the money has been diverted to other general fund purposes and spent on huge anti-smoking campaigns with little notice of how much of it is actually going toward medical bills.

And how much money does the state really need for anti-smoking campaigns? Do they really need $270 million for this??? That's the amount that was in the account prior to the state's action yesterday.

The point isn't really the original intent of the funds. It's all about who gets to decide - and, as yesterday's vote shows, those in Columbus think they know best. Never mind that this so-called 'stimulus' will do little to stimulate the economy.

In my WSPD interview with Jon Husted, he explains that other states are doing these kinds of 'stimulus' projects, so Ohio has to follow their lead.

If elected officials in Columbus really want to stimulate the economy, they'd reduce government spending, reduce government taxation, reduce government regulation and make Ohio a 'right-to-work' state. If they're really interested in duplicating what other states do, they should at least follow in the steps of the ones that are successful!

4 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

I too thought that this settlement money was to be set aside to take on the burden of medical costs incurred from smoking for Ohio residents. Instead, like a big lottery winner, we have spent all that was initially won and mortgaged future payments as well.

There are no good guys in this. The state programs being run are far too expensive and produce far too little in results. Anti-smoking campaigns have done far less to reduce tobacco use than the public building smoking ban and higher taxes.

And now we want to add the stimulus bill to the list of useless government programs that we can divert the last of this funding to. Well you can call it a stimulus package if you will, but it is really all about spending money in areas that need to be paid off politically. Perhaps in retrospect, this should have more appropriately been a settlement from the "pork" industry.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Wasn't this money also intended to pay for the "match" money destined for massive school rebuilding fiascoes like the one that Toledo finds itself mired in?

Either way, it looks like this cookie jar holds nothing but crumbs now...

Ben said...

we dont need that money because we will have the extra keno money coming in!

Robin said...

This story irritated me too. I thought the tobacco money was suppose to go for medical costs for people who have smoking related illnesses, so these people wouldn't have to use medicaid.

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