Monday, May 08, 2006

Do TEL of Republican Games

It looks like the liberal machinery of the Ohio Republican Party is closing in on a way to defeat Ken Blackwell's Tax and Expenditure Limitation amendment appearing on the November Amendment.

From The (Toledo) Blade:

Polls have shown that the concept is popular with voters. That has prompted talk of lawmakers pulling the same maneuver as in 2005 when polls showed a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the casting of no-fault absentee ballots to be the most popular of several election-related constitutional amendments that some Republicans vehemently opposed. After resisting the issue, lawmakers enacted their own absentee-ballot law and then successfully argued to voters that the ballot issue was no longer necessary.

The TEL would restrict annual growth in state spending to 3.5 percent, or to the rate of inflation adjusted for population growth. Attorney General Jim Petro, who was Mr. Blackwell's opponent in Tuesday's primary, continues to pursue his Citizens Amendment for Prosperity, or CAP, a competing constitutional amendment limiting government spending to 5.5 percent of the statewide personal income the prior year.

Sen. Gary Cates (R., West Chester) has drafted a bill that would largely mirror Mr. Petro's plan. He's also offered a joint resolution that would put the same question to voters on the ballot in direct competition with the TEL. If both amendments were to win, the one with the larger vote would prevail.

"Most people are of the belief that a constitutional amendment cannot be withdrawn with the exception of a court ruling of legal insufficiency," said Mr. Cates. "Barring that, the TEL could be on the ballot by itself or with the CAP. There are concerns this could have a boomerang effect on Blackwell," he said. "It could undermine his whole campaign."

Color me cynical, but I doubt that I am the only one who questions Mr. Cates real motives. While the sudden concern for the electoral chances of Ken Blackwell is welcomed (Mr. Gary Cates endorsed Jim Petro), I believe that the real motive involves opposition to the accountability that TEL imposes on lawmakers.

What could be worse for a politician that not being able to use the public till to buy votes? Ask Ted Strickland, he knows.


BizzyBlog said...

At the risk of sounding like a PITA, I'm having a problem with the law's language (what does "electors" mean? Registered or actual voters?) and with its applicability to county and local spending, which can and should go up and down more than the formula based on economic conditions.

The state formula is perfect; the straightjacket on the smaller government units is not good at all.

Steven J. Kelso Sr. said...

Local governments are just as out of control as the state government. The restrictions are just fine with me. If a need is truly important, the voters will give the OK. (Sometimes, even if it's NOT!)

Joe C. said...

"Polls have shown that the concept is popular with voters."

The above is the REAL problem. They can't have us peons deciding how much they can spend.

Even if some idiot lawyer and judges get together to rule that "electors" means registered voters, as far as I'm concerned, that's even better.