Well, at least the Columbus Dispatch on Monday at least mentioned it was a Republican proposal, even if they did consciously fail to mention that it’s the centerpiece of John Kasich’s campaign.
Here’s what the Dispatch had to say about what has been the centerpiece of John Kasich’s campaign:
The latest, from Republican Rep. John Adams of Sidney, would drop a nuclear bomb on the budget by eliminating the state income tax over 10 years. That’s the same income tax that couldn’t be reduced even a little bit in the current biennium; lawmakers had to postpone a previously approved cut in the tax in order to generate most of the $851 million needed to erase a shortfall.
Ohio’s income tax generates about 40 percent of state revenues. In current terms, that’s about $15.7 billion a year. Adams’ bill would reduce Ohioans’ income-tax obligations by 10 percentage points each year, until in the 2019 tax year and thereafter, it would be zero.
For the next biennial budget, that would mean a drop in income-tax revenue of about 20 percent, or $3 billion and change.
Does Adams really mean to cut that much from state spending?
Wiping out the entire Department of Natural Resources — no state parks, nobody watching over Ohio’s natural and wilderness areas, nobody maintaining hunting and fishing access — would save just $64.5 million, just a little more than 2 percent of the required reduction. What would the full cut look like in the next biennium, let alone by 2019?
Perhaps Adams and other would-be income-tax radicals mean to make up the difference with sales taxes or something else. In that case, they should be forthcoming with that little detail.
Adams’ pitch is simple and not without some truth: Lower income taxes would encourage economic development and might persuade more people to stay in the state and be more productive.
But that leaves out the inescapable reality that the state has a large budget that won’t be cut without tremendous political and social pain.
Nobody expects the Dispatch(R-Columbus) to address the fact that repealing a tax that most employers don’t pay will not, therefore, create jobs.
However, the Dispatch is the first major media outlet to mention that the centerpiece of Kasich’s campaign will create a massive deficit in Ohio’s budget, even when the Republicans in the General Assembly could not tolerate making any further cuts to the state’s budget. (Not even Adams proposed a series of budget cuts he’d support in lieu of a tax freeze.)