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Governor Kasich Proposes Crushing Cuts

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Tuesday, Ohio Governor and former Fox News talking head John Kasich proposed a two-year budget that would close an $8 billion gap by cutting aid to cities, reshaping Medicaid, and selling prisons.

The budget would cut state aid to municipalities by 25% in the first year and another 25% in the second. Gov. Kasich said his proposal would help local governments offset their loss of state contributions by erasing the requirement that they pay union wages.

The bill that would curtail public employee bargaining rights has sparked weeks of protests from tens of thousands of Ohioans. On Tuesday, Stand Up Ohio held thirteen rallies. The group argues that Gov. Kasich’s budget proposal will hurt communities hit by foreclosures and unemployment and will force governments to cut services, lay off workers, and raise property taxes.

Gov. Kasich’s plan would cut $1.4 billion from Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor. Under the plan, doctors and hospitals would be paid less for treating Medicaid patients.

Gov. Kasich also wants to sell five state prisons for an estimated $200 million. Privatizing prisons is an extremely contentious issue, as opponents believe it will be a security risk.

The governor also proposed many education changes, including expanding the state voucher program, lifting a cap on the number of charter schools, easing teacher licensing requirements, and allowing parents or teachers to take over failing schools. While the proposed budget slightly increases state education funding, the increase does not nearly offset the lost $875 million offered in federal stimulus funding.

Via WSJ.

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