Budgets aren’t about actually about numbers…
I love data. I love numbers. I love debates about the LGF, PLF, TPP, and revenue sharing. I love local share debates around school funding formulas and of course Medicaid group 8.
Sadly, nobody else seems to care about these policy issues. Only once in my life has somebody else brought one of these up to me in a social setting.
If budgets aren’t about dollars, cents, inflationary adjustments, and funding formulas – what are they actually about?
Budgets are about our vision for the future. All of the policy issues should point to how policymakers and advocates want to build up a stronger community for the future. Questions of how to pay and share the costs and expenses are the details of how to get to the goal.
Sadly, we often forget what budgets are really about and focus only on the details. It would be as if a friend took a family trip to the beach for a week, and instead of telling you about the fishing and swimming, they only told you about the gas stations that they had to stop at to get there. Let’s focus on where we want to be and not just the stops along the way.
As a parent of two elementary-aged children, I think about the type of Ohio we are building up for them. I want a state where no child goes to bed hungry at night. I want a state where teachers have the resources to help all students succeed. I want a state where growing old doesn’t mean growing poor. I want a state where my kids and grandkids will have great parks to play in and to explore!
Our budget alone cannot accomplish these things, but it is one of the most crucial parts of the conversation. Politicians always talk about their vision for the future, but then they fail to back up their talk with the dollars and cents that are needed to do the work. Governor DeWine talks about children as one of his main priorities. Will he be willing to close billion-dollar tax loopholes for the wealthy so that he can build up our schools and create opportunities for Ohio’s children?
Budgets are about our vision for a stronger and better world. We can fix potholes, solve hunger and homelessness, and strengthen our schools if our legislative leaders are willing to have the vision to do it.