Friday, January 15, 2010

Kasich-Taylor prepare to turn out Ohio's lights

THERE WAS A LOT of recycled ear candy passed out at yesterday's announcement by Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich that State Auditor Mary Taylor would join him on the ticket. Such events for both parties are always euphoric moments before the candidates take to the stump and are forced to explain exactly what they meant. Among Kasich's promises were his commitment to eliminate the state income tax, repeal the estate tax, deregulate industry and commerce and shrink government. So who could argue?

Trouble is, the system doesn't work that way, never has and never will. As we have so often learned the hard way, when the state shrinks its share, local governments must pick up the pieces; that is, if you want to keep the schools and a lot of other public services and projects moving along. When it comes to cash flow, Kasich, a former managing director of Lehman Brothers before it crashed into bankruptcy, knows that as well as anybody. He just won't say so in the delirium of sweet talk to the voters, not the least of whom are his Tea Party friends. Several news reports that I read noted that he was much less specific about how he would pay the bills if revenue vanished under his proposals. Fact is, he couldn't.

Maybe a report by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission will be of help to the voters: the first year of a phased-out income tax would cost the state treasury $768 million. The commission said that would translate into $79 million in cuts to local governments and libraries in fiscal year 2011. Over 10 years, it would drain $12 billion from the state revenue. In terms that might be easier to understand , the Plain Dealer pointed out that 40 pct. of the state's general revenue comes from the income tax.

I'm surprised Kasich didn't blame former Democratic governor, Jack Gilligan, of saddling Ohio with the income tax in the first place. When Gilligan ran for governor in 1970 he frequently called for the new tax to, among other things, rescue cash-starved school districts. With uncommon, if risky, honesty about the state of the universe, Gilligan told the voters that if they didn't want an income tax, they should vote for the other guy. He won anyway. And when the tax was tested with a referendum two years later to repeal it, the voters again sustained the tax. (When Rhodes later entered the job, the joke around Columbus was that although the new governor was monstrously opposed to taxes, he never lifted a finger to rid the state of the "Gilligan tax." And we knew why.

So for the next 10 or 11 months, I suspect there will be marathon of headachy harangues against Gov. Strickland, taxes and state budgets, with nothing new added to the inertial Republican agenda.

Ear candy.


Anonymous said...

John Kasich has been successful so far in answering any questions pertaining to the race relying solely on hyperbole and platitudes. His entire campaign is a strawman effort just to get Republicans back in to power with a name...any name the ORP considered a good self-financier against Strickland. There will be no golden parachutes for Kasich in running Ohio. However, Ohioians will be left holding the bag.

Anonymous said...

Stupid comment. Strickland's plan for Ohio is to beg for money. Brilliant.

He's done such a fantastic job as Governor. Strickland is toast.

Grumpy Abe said...

Hmmmm....Kasich would have to go well beyond begging to recover the loss of revenue from the income tax,

Anonymous said...

Yeah and tax-paying Ohio citizens would have more money in their pockets to spend on their families.

Gee that's a bad thing...

Read every major newspaper's three year bashing of the job Strickland has done as governor if you don't believe me.

All Kasich has to do this campaign season is run commercials quoting all of the editorial board comments about Strickland.

Kasich-Taylor is a lock.

Anonymous said...

If any Republican's win this November it might be Husted but being that he is the lobbyists poster-boy politician there maybe some head scratchin at Alex's headquarters on Main Street. (notice I did not say the Republican Headquarters)