Home > Columbus Dispatch Rips Gov. Strickland for Using Taxpayer Cash to Buy Political Support

Columbus Dispatch Rips Gov. Strickland for Using Taxpayer Cash to Buy Political Support

June 15, 2010 at 9:43 am Matt Leave a comment Go to comments

I try to avoid posting newspaper editorials, as editorial boards are full of pinheads. But I thought this is a surprisingly strong and unequivocal position for The Dispatch to take:

Once again, the Strickland administration has put its political interests ahead of the interests of taxpayers. The latest example is the $37.1 million project to upgrade the Columbus campus that includes the Ohio School for the Deaf and the Ohio State School for the Blind.

Richard Murray, hand-picked by Gov. Ted Strickland to be executive director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, has decreed that only contractors paying union-scale wages will be allowed to participate in the project.

This means taxpayers will pay 10 percent to 15 percent more than necessary for labor. They will get nothing in return for it, but Strickland and unions will. That money will go into union coffers and will be rewarded with labor votes, endorsements and other political support for Strickland’s re-election campaign.

That is money that might have gone to building or renovating other schools, or that could have been saved against the looming $8 billion deficit in Ohio’s next biennial budget, a problem about which Strickland apparently has taken a vow of silence.

It’s often said that politics is the art of compromise. But in this instance, the operative word is rationalize. Murray claims that his decision to require union wages is driven by concern for the students who attend the two schools.

“We were working on a site where we have some of the most vulnerable kids imaginable,” he said.

We’ll leave it to the students of the two schools to set Murray straight about his condescending view of their alleged vulnerability. It is enough to note here that his rationale is nonsense. Worksite-safety regulations are the same regardless of how much workers are paid. The only reason to even try to sell such nonsense is because it sounds so much better than the truth: Murray is squeezing taxpayers to add juice to his boss’s re-election campaign.

Prevailing wage is a serious problem with public contracts, which sets artificially high prices for taxpayers. For example, when major construction work was taking place at The Ohio State University while I was an undergraduate… They would accept bids for construction work, and the winning contractors were asked to INCREASE their prices to meet mandatory wage requirements. I suppose it’s easy for others to be generous with your money.

But more importantly, Gov. Strickland is using taxpayer dollars for political purposes. Not only is that unethical, it is a CRIME being committed openly in public for all to see.

Related posts:

  1. Brent Larkin on the Columbus Dispatch’s Political Activism and Casinos
  2. Ted Strickland’s Ohio Department of Education Kicks Retarded Kids
  3. PD’s Brent Larkin Eviscerates Ted Strickland on Charter Schools
  4. Is The Columbus Dispatch a Real Newspaper?
  5. Strickland Isn’t Even Good at Begging the Federal Government for Money

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