The Ohio Highway Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association represents largely the uniformed officers of the Ohio Highway Patrol.  They announced this morning that they’re endorsing Governor Ted Strickland for re-election.

From the Strickland-Brown campaign’s presser:

“The O.P.B.A. endorses Governor Strickland based on his strong record on law enforcement and public safety issues, and his continued support for the collective bargaining rights of public employees,” said Terry Gallagher, Executive Director of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
Strickland has demonstrated his commitment to public safety by protecting the Local Government Fund from cuts and preserving local law enforcement jobs. He has also embraced the increase of Byrne/JAG grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and worked with local law enforcement organizations to help create and retain jobs with those resources, while making Ohio safer. [HB 119, 6/30/2007; HB1, 7/17/2009;]

“I am grateful for the support of the O.P.B.A.  These brave men and women have an important responsibility to keep Ohio communities and people safe, and I will continue to fight for the policies that support their daily efforts,” Strickland said.

Congressman Kasich has repeatedly said that, as governor, he would phase out the Ohio income tax, which would devastate funding to local governments and their public safety programs.

“Congressman Kasich’s reckless tax plan would either force property tax hikes or massive cuts to law enforcement, leaving Ohioans unprotected,” Strickland said.  “As we recover from the economic recession that started on Wall Street, it’s important that we support our hard-working law enforcement personnel in the critical work they do each day to keep Ohio safe.”

An analysis by the non-partisan Legislative Service Commission found that phasing out the income tax, as Congressman Kasich has proposed, would lead to a $30 million loss in the Local Government Fund in 2011. Additional losses would occur each year, leading to a total $285.9 million loss when the income tax would be fully repealed in 2020. [Legislative Service Commission, 12/30/09, 1/15/10].

Just like Blackwell’s TEL amendment proposal was political poison that severely damaged his campaign worse than Bob Taft’s scandal-plagued Administration already had, John Kasich’s wreckless pledge to repeal Ohio’s income taxes is hurting him as an extremist who would jeopardize public safety in the name of his political economic ideology.

Ironically, this very well may be the reason Kasich can get the only significant law enforcement endorsement left in Ohio, the Buckeye Sheriffs Association.  First, the Buckeye Sheriffs Association has historically favored Republican candidates.  Second, one way Kasich may be thinking of cutting State costs is by disbanding the Ohio Highway Patrol altogether and giving its duties to local law enforcement, particularly the County Sheriffs.  (Yes, I realize this is getting dangerously close to the plot line of Super Troopers.) However, the political reality is that the Buckeye Sheriffs Association has acted in a manner that treats the Ohio Highway Patrol more as a rival than a partner in law enforcement.

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