March 3, 2009

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

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:35 pm

ohioYou’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:

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 NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: From a NewsBusters commenter claims to have received this from Provance — “I should have mentioned that the governor is a Democrat. I mentioned Ms. Taylor’s party affiliation because she is of the opposite party of the person she is criticizing. Just a fact that should be put out there. I should have taken the next step of noting the governor’s party.” A timely revision would be nice; getting it right the first time would be nicer in the future.

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4 Comments

  1. Well said, Tom. The Blade is little more than the Democratic Party’s press agent, and has been off its rocker ever since the spoiled rich-kid publisher took over from his father. I went to college at UT and graduated in 1996 and 1997, and the town’s refusal to even consider the idea that even part of its problem may be one-party Democrat rule is truly mind-bending.

    Comment by Michael — March 3, 2009 @ 11:50 pm

  2. You nailed it. The Blade is doing a disservice to the Toledo community by ignoring the foul smell emanating from area Democrats. There is no honest portrayal of how Democrats have led Toledo down the path of decay and dysfunction.

    Comment by Daniel Jack Williamson — March 4, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

  3. [...] I have a Columbus Business First reporter to the left of me and Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade on the right. Yeah, that Jim Provance. [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — January 14, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

  4. [...] March of last year (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a story about late financial reports from Ohio’s state government, Provance identified [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — May 7, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

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