Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kasich promises to end Ohio income tax. Oh?

WELL, HE'S BACK.    John Kasich has officially announced his candidacy for Ohio governor in a way that will thrill the deeply conservative wing of the Republican Party.  Relying on the boilerplate pledges that we have heard so often from that remote corner of the political world, Kasich has promised a Utopian economic climate in the state that includes a commitment  to get rid of the state personal income tax.  As Joe Hallett of the Columbus Dispatch so aptly pointed out,  five previous governors, Democrats and Republicans, have raised taxes.  Their successors will continue to do so whenever the cupboard is bare.  

Such revealing history will not deter Kasich, 57,  a former Ohio congressman who left Capitol Hill nearly a decade ago and has since served as an  executive for Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street investment firm that declared bankruptcy in September 2008. He's also been  a commentator on Fox News and an occasional fill-in for Bill O'Reilly as well as a welcome guest on Sean Hannity's  version of Hellzapoppin'.   That should fairly complete his ideological profile. But not since the glory days of Donald "Buz"  Lukens has there been a more ubiquitous Republican politician on the stump to sell his version of what ails Ohio.  He's already piled up scores of appearances at party dinners across the state in 2009 and may be expected to quadruple that awesome appetite for the rubber-chicken circuit in  the months ahead.    It's an Olympic marathon for his sole Republican opponent, Kevin Coughlin, to match. Besides, Coughlin must also deal with fallout from the flaming publicity alleging indiscretions in his personal life.

Some history: The income tax that Kasich says he will phase out has been around since 1972 during Democratic Gov. John Gilligan's administration.  That it was enacted at the time  didn't come as much of a surprise because   candidate Gilligan bluntly told the voters that if he were elected he would call for the tax.  Such dire warnings rarely  spill  from lips of  candidates (Walter Mondale is another exception).  When Jim Rhodes materialized out of retirement to challenge Gilligan in 1974,  he never let an opportunity pass that he didn't accuse Gilligan of taxing  everything in Ohio that "walks, crawls or flies."  Ahhhh, Rhodes had a way with colorful hyperbole! 

Satisfied that he had made his point with the Buckeye voters, "no new taxes" Rhodes went on to raise taxes several times as governor. As for the income tax, the joke around the Statehouse was that although Jim slammed the tax during the campaign, he never lifted a finger to get rid of it as governor.  The state, after all, needed the dough.  

Just thought I'd restore historical accuracy  before Kasich - as he will - gets too annoyed by the personal income tax in one of the state's greatest hours of need.  


Anonymous said...

The Kasich-Lehman Brothers connection could be played up beautifully be Democrats. Kasich faces an uphill climb in this campaign. While sounding alot like Strickland in 200
6, there are a few differences and issues that he has to overcome. First, there is no equal to the bankruptcy filing by Lehman Brothers-twice the size of the second largest bankruptcy filing- a$685+ billion filing that dwarfs WAMUs. Second, Kasich's gun bill compromise in the House as a congressman could cause unease and a sense of squishness with the gun rights crowd. Ted Strickland has a positive relationship with the gun rights groups in Ohio. Third, Strickland is facing a Republican challenge in an environment where he is hoovering near mid to upper 50 percent job approval rating in a state with record unemployment. Simply, people are not ready to blame Strickland or Democrats after 4 years after 20+ years of Republican leadership. Fourth, Obama has a high approval rating in the state. Republicans may be in for a rude awakening next year if the party continues operating aimlessly with ideas and vision and only focuses on attacking. For instance, the departure of NCR from Dayton says more about state Senator Jon Husted's tax reform than does Strickland's acceptance of it.

Anonymous said...

John Kasich was thrown in there as a sacrificial lamb. Ted Strickland is more pro gun than him? wait a minute what about our platform? Oh that's right it went out the window a long time ago after the party started winning some races and ended up becoming it's own worst nightmare. I have already talked to the gun groups lobbiest's and presidents who are overwhelming Republican and guess who they are supporting? It sure ain't a guy who presided over a company that went down the tubes.
Barring a major flub Strickland gets re-elected easily.

Mencken said...

"There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong".

HL Mencken

Another Abe said...

Kasich's "proposition" is only more of the same claptrap that the Buckeye Institute (little Cato) love. It is easy to say "get rid of the income tax" without saying how one is going to pay for what people want and need. A look at the record of the Ohio legislature during the time that Kasich was there would reveal a neglect of public education, an aspect of public life that had it been nurtured, might in part have mitigated Ohio's downward spriral.

A look at past record is a fair indication of future propensities especially when the verbiage remains more of the same.