Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the current General Assembly inherited a terrible mess from what amounted to four lost years during Gov. Ted Strickland's administration. The time was lost because Strickland and lawmakers - many of whom still are in office - did virtually nothing about gigantic state budget deficits.
Instead, Strickland assured Ohioans everything was under control. It was not. To balance the next two-year budget, Kasich and legislators had to address an $8 billion gap between revenue and projected expenditures.
Spending cuts throughout the budget have been called for by the governor and General Assembly leaders. But last week, state senators said they had "found" more money. It is enough to provide $115 million more for schools, $100 million for local governments and $15 million more for a program to provide nursing care in patients' homes.
How did this money suddenly materialize after months of dire warnings about revenue shortages?
State senators cite "more optimistic state revenue estimates," according to The Associated Press.
Uh-oh. That sounds very much like the wishful thinking of the Strickland administration's four years.
We hope an improving economy indeed will provide the state with more money than had been expected.
But Kasich and legislative leaders should not under any circumstances risk passing another budget based on overly optimistic guesses that prove unfounded.