Sometimes, the Columbus Dispatch (R-Columbus) surprises me. Today, they did a fact-check on Kasich’s latest attack ad in which Kasich attempt to blame Ohio’s job losses on Strickland’s record on the budget and taxes.
And the Dispatch reports that the attacks aren’t true:
But the statement that Strickland "destroyed Ohio jobs when he busted the budget and raised our taxes" is problematic in several ways. The argument by the Kasich campaign is that tax hikes kill jobs, and that Strickland raised taxes in the current two-year budget when he proposed a "delay" of the final 4.2 percent cut in the state’s personal-income tax that was enacted as part of a five-year, 21 percent cut in 2005. It was done to close an $851 million hole in the current two-year budget that was created when a plan to add video slot machines at Ohio horse-racing tracks fell through.
A. Ohio has added jobs since Ted Strickland froze the income tax rates.
I have to admit, this is one observation that I’ve completely missed! But based on the same jobs data that Kasich regularly uses to attack Strickland over job losses, it’s true:
Although Kasich calls that a tax increase, Strickland does not. And even if that December action really was a tax increase, Ohio has actually added 32,800 jobs since.
Kasich has made a totally false analogy that the tax freeze was like a restaurant hurting for business “raising” its prices. Not only did Ohio not “raise its prices,” but keeping taxes the same didn’t actually lead to job losses.
B. Cutting payroll and spending for the first time in decades is a weird way of “busting a budget.”
And to say that Strickland "busted the budget" or that somehow he deserves blame for the budget hole is dubious because the state was dealing with a dramatic decline in revenue as a result of the recession and the income-tax cuts approved by the GOP in 2005. The suggestion here seems to be that Strickland raised taxes instead of cutting spending or choosing a better option. But Strickland whack the state payroll by more than 5,000 jobs and did cut state spending for the first time in several decades.
Is it just me or is this not the closest anyone in the media has come to point out what happened the last time the Republicans committed the State to massive tax cuts with no real plan to pay for them? The 2005 tax reforms, while overall good for Ohio’s long-term economy had the same major flaw of Kasich’s tax repeal plans—they kicked the hard choices down the road to sell them to the public and a General Assembly worried about facing re-election if they had to vote then on a painful plan to pay for them.
C. For all his rhetoric and criticisms, John Kasich has yet to give any indication what he would have done differently (the “armchair quarterback” response)
There were no other viable options offered late last year to keep the budget in balance as required when the slots money fell through. Nor has Kasich offered any. Republicans certainly didn’t propose any alternatives that could muster enough votes to pass, and the Republican-controlled Senate ultimately approved the tax "freeze."
John Kasich was asked, at the time, what he would do differently about the budget. He demurred, saying he didn’t want to inject himself and politicize the budget negotiations. It was a clever dodge. But now that the deal is done and Kasich is criticizing it, isn’t it about time he lay out what he would have done instead?
It’s refreshing to see the Dispatch point this out.