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.