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Budish and Democrats Face Tough Decisions on Massive Deficit

Monday, December 29, 2008 at 5:04 AM

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Next month, Democrats will be in control of the Ohio House of Representatives for the first time in 14 years, and many eyes will be on speaker-elect Armond Budish of Beachwood. Ideastream's Dan Bobkoff spoke to Budish about his challenging new term.

Democrats have little time to celebrate their new majority in the State House. A looming $7 billion deficit will derail most plans and promises for the new legislative year. Now, Democrats, and their new speaker from Beachwood, Armond Budish, will have to turn all their attention to balancing that ugly budget.

BUDISH: Would I prefer coming in at a time when we have gobs of money and we could invest freely in the things that we need? Absolutely.

Budish and his colleagues have their work cut out for them. He says that even if the legislature were to trim 10% from every single state program they can legally cut, the state would still be $4 billion in the hole. He says his priority will be trying to get aid from Washington.

BUDISH: I believe one of the tasks, although it’s not written down anywhere, is to be a chief lobbyist for Ohio with the federal government. Right now, the federal government is looking at ways to help the states. We need to make sure we’re heard loudly in Washington. 

Northeast Ohioans may also expect to be heard loudly in Columbus with Budish taking control. He says he’ll be speaker for all Ohioans, but it’s a fair assumption that this region will get its fair share of attention.

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