EDITORIAL: GOP has better issues to address

The Columbus Dispatch (September 25, 2014)

There are more-important, less-divisive issues for the legislature to tackle in its year-end lame-duck session than making Ohio a right-to-work state and requiring a photo ID to vote. It’s good to see House Speaker Bill Batchelder confirming that these issues are not expected to be on the agenda, despite speculation fueled by Democrats eager to rally their voters to the polls in November.

In comments reported recently by Gongwer Ohio News Service, Batchelder, when asked whether House Republicans would take action on right-to-work legislation, flatly responded: “No way.” He expressed doubt that a drive by Rep. John Becker, R-Union Township, to force a vote on photo ID would gather enough signatures to move forward. It shouldn’t. Photo ID is unnecessary and voter fraud in Ohio is negligible. Ohio’s chief election official (and Becker’s fellow Republican), Secretary of State Jon Husted, opposes the idea.

Without a serious gubernatorial candidate this year, Democrats and unions in particular have been using their voters’ dislike of the long-gone Senate Bill 5 to try to stir up their base. Never mind that Gov. John Kasich has signaled a number of times that he has no intention of revisiting the issue.

There are better topics facing Republicans in the legislature. These include a revision of the state’s severance tax to achieve a fair return for Ohioans and a much-needed overhaul of municipal taxes to make the state more business-friendly. With issues like this in the balance, which would benefit all, there is no reason to take up contentious issues that surely would invite a backlash.