Ohio is facing an $8 billion deficit, so no matter who is elected governor, it will be tough sledding in the state legislature dealing with that massive shortfall.
Because the incumbent, Democrat Linda Bolon, currently serves as vice chairman of the budget committee, we feel she possesses the experience needed to tackle this monumental task next year.
Her opponent, political newcomer Craig Newbold, running as a Republican, has an impressive list of business accomplishments, but we were surprised with the lackluster enthusiasm he showed for obtaining the state level job.
Perhaps his lack of prior political experience accounts for the laid-back attitude he has taken toward getting elected. And while it's refreshing to see someone who appears to be unfettered by party politics, we fear that this lack of experience and laissez-faire attitude will work against his ability to get anything accomplished in Columbus.
Bolon has proven herself to be an effective legislator and has been appointed to prestigious committees. We worry that her effectiveness may be eroded if Democrats lose control of the statehouse Nov. 2, but we still believe that her prior experience in the Legislature, as well as her previous position as Columbiana County treasurer, make her the best-equipped of the two candidates to tackle the daunting task of balancing the state budget.
Newbold said he would reduce the state budget deficit by reducing the size of state government, specifically the department of education. He said he has also signed a pledge that he would not raise taxes.
Bolon on the other hand wouldn't rule out a tax hike, but said she would not support an increase until she is convinced that every possible spending cut has been made.
Admitting that balancing the budget is a huge undertaking, Bolon says that state government will have to get "lean and mean," and she'll have "no sacred cows" when it comes to cutting government spending, meaning that even entitlement programs such as Medicaid will be subject to extreme cutbacks.
She also wants to help attract new businesses and jobs to Ohio by eliminating obstacles posed by stringent Ohio Environmental Protection Agency rules.
She also wants to restructure the CAT - Commercial Activities Tax - levied on Ohio businesses, to decrease the burden on small businesses. Workers' Compensation rules also need to be streamlined to also help grow businesses in the state, Bolon says.
With a huge deficit hanging over the state, now is not the time to send a new player into the game, especially a new player such as Newbold who doesn't appear to have a solid game plan.
The Morning Journal editorial board endorses the re-election of Linda Bolon as state representative.