In March of 2008, John Kasich formed a new PAC called “Recharge Ohio” that took three specific policy positions it was advocating:
- A total repeal of the Ohio income tax.
- A total repeal of the estate tax.
- And “school choice” (i.e.- school vouchers and massive giveaways with little public accountability for for-profit charter schools.
John Kasich’s PAC was nothing more than an exploratory committee for Governor in disguise. It was the worst kept secret in Ohio politics, probably because, Kasich asked to be introduced as a possible gubernatorial candidate at the GOP events across Ohio he spoke at as the “Chairman” of Recharge Ohio.
That’s John Kasich in March 2009. We HAVE to phase out the income tax! It’s not an option not to! We have to STOP it!
John Kasich’s Recharge Ohio was so successful at convincing Republicans it was a winning strategy that thirty-one out of fourty-seven members of the Ohio House of Representatives, including such members as House Minority Leader William Batchelder and State Treasurer candidate Josh Mandel decided to sign up and introduce a bill last year to repeal the income tax by phasing it out over ten years.
This, of course, turn out to be quite the disaster. Because on the same day that the Kasich now officially gubernatorial campaign was to announce that State Auditor Mary Taylor would be his running mate (something the Kasich campaign intended to be earth-shattering political news), the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission (LSC) issued a fiscal impact analysis on the income tax repeal bill. The report showed how costly and devastating the income tax repeal would be. Kasich and Taylor’s entire press conference was instead about the LSC report because all Kasich and Taylor could say is that people should just “trust them” that they’ll figure out a way come January… after they’ve been elected. Eventually, even then, Kasich started to act like this income tax repeal was all a rumor.
Recharge Ohio’s website has curiously gone dark on the matter and everything else, and John Kasich’s campaign webpage doesn’t mention:
- Repealing the income tax;
- Repealing the estate tax; or
- School “choice.”
After once praising John Adams over HB 400, John Kasich spent much of the spring denied paternity of the bill like a guest on Maury.
How’s this for a tell? The only time the Carpetblogger (R-VA) has ever written a post about Kasich’s income tax repeal? July 2009. Keeling has never written about Adams’ bill at all. And he hasn’t defended or mentioned Kasich’s signature proposal in over a year.
For much of this year, the media has expressed frustration as it attempted to get a simple answer from John Kasich on what Kasich himself billed as the only way to get Ohio out of an economic “death spiral- how will you pay for it.
First, Kasich went with the “people are too busy watching WWE” excuse.
Then, he promised details “when he felt good and ready.”
Today? The Cleveland Plain Dealer declares that Kasich has all but totally walked away from it:
It is absent from his campaign website, where he argues spending cuts are needed so taxes can be lowered. And at a speaking event Aug. 4, Kasich talked nearly an hour without mentioning the income tax repeal once.
We decided to run his remarks through the Flip-O-Meter to see if he’s done a full gainer on the issue.
[Referring to LSC’s analysis of Adams’ bill]:
Those details make Kasich’s plan all the more intriguing. He insists it can be done, even as he refuses to offer up details or talk about it on the campaign trail. Sure Kasich says he’s standing by his plan to eliminate the state’s income tax but his silence on the campaign trail about an issue he once was so boastful about speaks volumes.
His unwillingness to answer questions or provide details about how he would eliminate the tax makes it appear as if he wishes he never promised its demise so prominently.
He hasn’t publicly gone that far, yet, so we rate his position a Half Flip.
You’d be hard pressed to find any evidence of other Republicans running on a “repeal the income tax” platform as well. Josh Mandel mentions it NOWHERE on his Treasurer campaign website.
I recently asked the Ohio Democratic Party if they were aware of a single legislative candidate running on a repeal the Ohio income tax as a platform. The only one they could find is one of the leaders of the Cincinnati Tea Party now running for the House. Not a single sponsor of the bill is highlighting it in their campaign literature.
In fact, one of the sponsors, dismissed his own sponsorship of a bill to repeal the income tax saying:
But State Rep. David Daniels, R-Greenfield, said the bill isn’t even close to being passed. He signed on as a co-sponsor of the legislation.
“I just wanted to allow discussion on ways to make Ohio more competitive,” Daniels said. “I want us to become the economic powerhouse we once were.”
If he can travel the State for a year promising to repeal Ohio’s income tax only to try to quietly sneak away from it, then how can we trust anything he says?
Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that John Kasich’s income tax repeal, which had gone missing from the Kasich campaign stump message some six months ago, has been declared legally dead. It leaves behind the tattered credibility of the Kasich-Taylor campaign who finds itself going from a half-back idea to no ideas at all.
R.I.P.—You won’t be missed.