Walk the Walk

IT APPEARS the Ohio political scene is riddled with hypocrisy.

John Kasich entered the governor’s mansion in January, trumpeting balancing the budget and belt tightening. Kasich talked a tough game.

Unfortunately it appears that message of austerity does not resonate throughout the Ohio Senate.

Just the opposite, however, has taken place.

Recently released state records show a disturbing salary revelation. While Kasich has emphasized the need to contain costs and eliminate frivolous spending, payroll data indicate that 19 Senate caucus employees have received pay increases since July. The pay hikes total a combined $160,000.

While that amount doesn’t break the bank or train wreck the budget, it is an obvious slap in the face to Kasich and his agenda. The move usurps the governor’s authority and establishes a bad precedent.

More disturbing is the fact that several of the employees receiving the pay bumps were already compensated quite well. That is reflected by the chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, finance director and clerk all realized an increase of more than $8,000 annually. Each was drawing salaries in the $100,000 range.

Raises during a state financial crisis are ill-timed. To give them to employees with hefty stipends is non-sensical.

Kasich is attempting to control the earnings of union employees via Senate Bill 5, whose fate will be determined by voters in the November election. We find it disturbing that he would allow such a scenario take place in the political realm.

Kasich has been calling for more efficient use of public resources. The pay raises granted in the Ohio Senate speaks to the contrary.

We commend the governor for taking on a $10 billion deficit and making some tough decisions to make ends meet. However, he loses credibility when well-paid employees get unneeded salary hikes in times of economic restraint.