Veteran Senators Talk Budget, And New Superintendent Speaks Out
Gov. John Kasich started the week in northeast Ohio, signing the transportation bill that also hikes the speed limit to 70 mph on certain interstate highways. Cleaning the state’s roadways this winter was much more expensive than it was in the very mild winter of 2012. The state's per-capita income rose at one of the fastest rates in the nation last year. Portage County Tea Party leader Tom Zawistowki says he’ll challenge the official who’s set to replace Ohio Republican Party Chair Bob Bennett as he leaves the party chairman's seat a second time. The director of the Department of Veterans Services will be among those inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame next month.
Lawmakers are still on break, but they didn’t leave their concerns about the budget behind – it needs to be in place by the end of June, and there isn’t a lot of time left for the budget to be overhauled as much as some lawmakers have hinted it will be. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the expansion of the state sales tax onto some 80 services that are now not taxed is in serious danger, and that the severance tax on big oil and natural gas drillers is also facing an uncertain future. Longtime Republican Senators Sen. Scott Oelslager of Canton, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, talk about what they see coming their way in the budget.
Spring break is ending for school districts around the state, and students and teachers are starting the final two months of the school year with a new leader at the head of the public school system in Ohio. Richard Ross was sworn in last week as state school superintendent, after winning the job from acting superintendent Michael Sawyers. Ross was the director of the governor's Office of 21st Century Education, and some Democratic critics blasted him as being too close to Kasich’s policies to advocate for public schools. But Ross has said that his experience in the governor’s office gives him a unique perspective in this new position.