Toledo Blade Reporter Names Party (GOP) of Auditor, But Not That of Governor (Dem) Who Is Late With Financials

ohio.jpgYou've got to hand it to Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade. He managed only to identify the party of a Republican in a story that is primarily about a Democratic administration's failure to produce timely financial statements.

Democratic Governor Ted Strickland, his administration, and his appointed Democrats in Ohio's Office of Budget and Management are not going to have the state's records in auditable condition until after the General Assembly passes the budget for the NEXT biennium beginning July 1 of this year. This is a situation that Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor yesterday called "unprecedented."

So "naturally," Provance identified Taylor's twice party in his report covering the situation, and failed to specifically name the party of any other statewide official -- or Strickland himself. Oh we can infer it, but inferences don't show up in search engine results. The words "Democrat" or "Democratic" are nowhere to be found.

Here are the key excerpts from the story (link corrected from original when posted):

Ohio auditor calls late '08 figures 'unprecedented'

If the state of Ohio were a local government or school district, State Auditor Mary Taylor would have declared it unauditable and started imposing fines by now.

Instead, there's little more the Republican auditor can do than complain, knowing that by the time the books are officially closed on what the state collected and spent in fiscal year 2008, the state budget for 2010 and 2011 will probably already be law.

"How will the governor know where to go fiscally if he doesn't know where he's been?'' asked Ms. Taylor.

Gov. Ted Strickland is currently pushing a $54 billion budget for the next two years, but his administration has yet to turn over the numbers for fiscal year 2008 for the required annual audit. The fiscal year ended June 30, 2008, but, 246 days later, as fiscal year 2009 nears its end, Ms. Taylor is still waiting.

The only Republican currently holding statewide executive office, Ms. Taylor said the numbers are typically available within six months of the close of a fiscal year and audits are usually completed by the following spring.

"The governor's concerned about the delay, and he's asked [his Office of Budget and Management] and other agencies to pull the information together as quickly as possible," said Strickland spokesman Amanda Wurst.

..... Ms. Taylor said she's been told the numbers won't be forthcoming until June. Her office will need about 14 weeks to complete the annual audit once the numbers are received.

..... Ms. Taylor said she was concerned that further delays might endanger the state's credit rating, currently the second-best rating available.

"Now is not the time to delay reporting important financial information to Ohioans," said Ms. Taylor. "We face an extraordinary budget deficit, the highest unemployment rate in over 20 years, and an unprecedented federal bailout. The governor must assure Ohioans he is serious about accountability and transparency and that their tax dollars are being spent legally and appropriately.

The Blade is the same paper that wrote or carried 1,000 stories (I'm not kidding) on Republican Tom Noe, whose sour coin investments cost the state, then governed by Republican Taft, millions of doll-- .... oh wait, it turns out that Noe's malfeasance cost the State "only" a few million, because the state has recouped most of what was originally lost.

I say "only" because Democrat-supporting investment adviser Mark Lay, like Noe, was in charge of investing a portion of the state-run Bureau of Workers Compensation investment funds. Lay lost $216 million in an offshore investment fund; that money is not coming back. If the Blade did 20 stories of its own on Lay's losses other than those fed to it by the Associated Press, I'd be surprised.

Like many other US newspapers, the Blade has seen its circulation drop. Its daily circ was down 10.5% to a shade under 120,000 in the three years ended March 31, 2008, while the Sunday Blade was down 16.8% to 147,000 and change during the same time period (PDFs with circulation figures for the Top 100 US newspapers as of 3/31/2008 and 3/31/2005 are here and here, respectively).

The Toledo area's unemployment rate has been the worst or nearly the worst in the Buckeye State for at least the past year, while the Blade leads the charge blaming everyone but the dominant Democratic Party for that situation. Perhaps if the Blade put more resources into fair and balanced reporting, along with hard-headed analyses of what ails the Glass City area, things might be different -- for both Toledo and its paper.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.