Wednesday, March 14, 2007

State of the State Reaction – It’s Make-It-Work Time

I didn’t take notes on the speech, so no point by point breakdown or anything like a live blog here. Instead, some general impressions and reactions.

Overall it was a good-but-not-great speech by a good-but-not-great speaker. Some clever anecdotes and turns of phrases. As a speech qua speech one can pick nits, but it was effective and easy to listen to.

His themes were familiar liberal dem themes – shared responsibility, shared sacrifice, investment in the future. The shared sacrifices were tied to his tax changes which, from the sound of it, are aimed at consistency and fairness as well as finding new revenue sources.

Three education policy goals caught my ear. First, Strickland is aiming squarely at school privatization. He promises to eliminate E-choice, the expanded voucher program, and impose a moratorium on new charter schools. He’s also looking to stop the use of for-profit education management companies and beef up charter school oversight. He’s taking on some heavily resourced political opponents here, and doing so in a year when his most obvious supporters – education stakeholders – are putting their time and money into GIRFOF.

And speaking of GIRFOF, his budget plans for education take square aim at derailing the amendment. In particular, expanding homestead exemption is a clear shot at GIRFOF as the tax rollbacks in the amendment are a potential carrot for voters.

While I liked the speech, it’s a little beside the point. What will matter is the details in the budget he proposes tomorrow. He set the table well for advocating for that budget. For example, he will undoubtedly use the aforementioned property tax cut accomplished by expanding the homestead exemption to justify whatever of his tax law changes can be characterized as hikes. When legislators campaign against, say, applying the CAT to fuel sales, he will counter with the homestead exemption.

Today’s speech, anticipated though it may have been, was the easy part. I’ve heard more than once from people working in Columbus that legislators on both sides of the aisle and trying to regain equilibrium as they get used to a Governor with actual leadership ability. That ability meets its first great test now. Strickland has set forth his design, now he needs to make it work.

Carry on.


Eric said...

budget plans for education take square aim at derailing the amendment [GIRFOF]

Given the problematic "fundamental right" provision of the amendment, now would be a good time to declare victory, abandon the signature campaign, regroup education supporters, and save OEA members $25 each and a humiliating defeat in November.

matt r. said...

the prohibition on for profit charter schools as well as the moratorium on more schools is a long overdue step. who gives a crap what men in white hats think about it.

as for the beefed up oversight that will depend largely on our newly elected and still republican auditor of state. in the past betty turned a blind eye on charter schools hopefully ms. taylor will provide some actual oversight.