Best Public-Spirited Cause

Policy Matters Ohio

The state budget is a big pile of garbled words and numbers that nobody -- including your trusty legislator -- reads to completion. Knowing this, your legislator probably has felt free to sneak a couple hundred large of your tax money to his most generous campaign contributor. That's a lot harder to do since the George Gund Foundation launched Policy Matters Ohio two years ago. The nonprofit research organization dives deep into esoteric state economics and surfaces with such common-sense questions as "Why the hell did we give Wal-Mart $10 mil to build distribution centers in Ohio, when they would have anyway?" That's some sweet muckraking.