The old chestnut, often falsely attributed to former German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck, is memorable: "to retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making." Every other spring, it brings to mind the members of our Ohio General Assembly, wallowing along in the ritual of creating Ohio's porcine biannual budget bill.

Imagine a modest snowball slowly gathering grimy slush, rocks, timber and steam as it rumbles downhill, mutating into an avalanche bearing down on some helpless taxpaying villagers. Although the annual budget bill may have a humble word count when introduced in the Ohio House, by the time it emerges from committee and hits the floor it becomes a monstrosity that can choke an office printer or two should you imprudently ask your disbelieving assistant to "please make me a copy."

And that's before it even sees the light of day in the Senate, let alone some dank conference committee room on a day in late June.

This year's bill, humbly labeled HB 59, is on this relentless glide path as the days wind down towards the end of the fiscal year, already overstuffed with tricks and treats, depending on whether the ruling GOP majority thinks you've been naughty or nice. Paging through the 2,500 pages that emerged from the House, one can find all sorts of goodies.

An amendment that allows your city council to sell off fracking rights to city parks. (Oil derricks coming to Eden Park?)

An extra judge for Summit County. (Wonder who the term-limited senator is with his name penciled on that slot?)

More inscrutable changes to our long incomprehensible school funding formula. (Some districts get less, others more, no one can explain why!)

A scheme to deter college kids from voting in campus towns.

Allowing proprietors of E-Schools to replicate their schools, despite a purported E-school moratorium, double dipping in money that used to go to traditional public school districts.

A change that allows charter schools to hire physical education teachers without any burdensome credentials or training as phys ed teachers.

The creation of one more committee to decide whether the Tea Party dead enders that control the House will ultimately succumb to the arguments of the governor, the chambers of commerce, labor, the editorial pages, hospitals, churches, employers and advocates of the poor to take that $13 billion of federal cash available to expand Medicaid. (More time is needed to schedule more fundraisers to squeeze cash from all those supporters!)

Defunding Planned Parenthood. (So we can create more babies not covered by Medicaid?)

What no one seems to be demanding: yet another income tax cut.

Amazingly, the House actually yanked a controversial idea that emerged from committee: allow parents to sue teachers who encourage "gateway" sexual activity. Play "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in class? See you in court!

Now there is a pesky provision in the Ohio Constitution that says:

"No bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title." This single subject rule was intended to prevent that great political tradition called "log rolling," which is "the practice of exchanging favors, especially in politics, by reciprocal voting for each other's proposed legislation." So you'll support my Summit County judgeship, if I support fracking in city parks? Moi?

Every now and then the Ohio Supreme Court reminds the other branches of government about this provision, usually causing the legislators to chuckle and re-adopt the provision that the Supreme Court, after extensive litigating, finds to exceed only the "single subject" allowed. Apparently it's just too tempting to roll about 50 percent of all their heavy legislative lifting in any given term into the biennial budget bill behemoth. The logs are all rolled into one giant sausage to plop on the governor's desk, maybe with a side of mustard and some potato salad before these "full-time" legislators take the summer off for some much needed rest (and to reload their campaign war chests). This fall, should they choose to return to Columbus, they might even revisit that confusing Medicaid expansion thing.

In the meantime, befuddled taxpayers are left asking themselves the question that haunts us at the ballpark each summer: Is that a mett? Or a brat?