Here’s what Gubernatorial candidate John Kasich said as the early January announcement of Mary Taylor being his running mate:

“I don’t think going to Washington on your knees with a tin cup begging for somebody else to bail us out is an answer because at some point that ends,” said Kasich, a former Columbus-area U.S. House member.

(Source: Dayton Daily News (Jan. 15, 2010)

Here’s what Governor-elect John Kasich said about the 3C train money during his first official trip to Washington as Ohio’s Governor-elect:

Kasich plans to bring his flexibility plea to President Obama during a Thursday visit to the White House with other newly elected governors. He said his point is illustrated by the federal government’s unwillingness to let Ohio redirect money it obtained for a high speed rail program that Kasich wants to abandon.

"We’re billions in the hole in Ohio," Kasich said. "We don’t need a program that puts us further in the hole."

(Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (Dec. 2, 2010)

John Kasich is still insisting that he should be allowed to do what he pleases with the $400 million in committed federal money for Ohio to enact its 3C passenger rail system.

It’s like me taking money from a client to represent them in court and then turning around and saying that I want to use it to do brain surgery on them instead.

When Kasich talks about “flexibility” what he’s really talking about is capitulation to his personal wishes to spend the federal government’s money as he sees fit.  Never mind that when Ohio asked the federal government for the money Ohio promised that the money would strictly be used to develop passenger rail service, or that when the federal government agreed to commit to giving Ohio the money it was strictly on the condition that the money would be used as Ohio promised.  That doesn’t matter because now John Kasich is Governor, apparently.

So, now we have the Governor-elect, on his first trip to D.C., with his tin cup in hand begging President Obama to let him break Ohio’s promise to the federal government but still keep the money because Kasich finds himself in a budget jam.  Kasich now joins incoming Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Amstuz (R-Wooster) in asking:


Kasich does this while at the same time insisting that Ohio next year intentionally cut its revenues by nearly a billion dollars in tax cuts he’s still offered no plan to pay for them.  And you’re hard pressed to find any media outlet write about the upcoming budget fight that mentions how Kasich’s promises have made Ohio’s budget situation worse than it needs to be.

When John Kasich was the House Budget Chairman, he never pushed for tax cuts that would increase the deficit over 12%.  And yet, that’s precisely what he’s doing as Governor-elect.  And now, he’s in D.C., demanding that the President of the United States give him the “flexibility” to allow the State to blatantly break its promises to the federal government and yet keep the money because he’s got tax cuts he needs to pay for.

Again not one reporter or paper or anyone besides this site has pointed out the question that if Ohio cannot afford the 3C which would create tens of thousands of jobs and cost a fraction of Kasich’s promised tax cuts, then how can we afford those tax cuts?

Kasich has even gotten outgoing U.S. Senator George Voinovich to introduce his “Kasich’s ‘My Way for the Highways’ Act of 2010” which was introduced than for no other reason than to make it legally possible for Ohio to keep the federal money while breaking its promise.  What’s next?  A companion bill so Kasich can keep the “Race to the Top” money, too?

Take a look at today’s story in the Columbus Dispatch, which is reporting that which we predicted a long time ago.  If something isn’t done to improve the revenue side of the State’s ledger:

  • Ohio’s prisons will close with the remaining ones reaching highly unsafe overcrowding levels that has lead to violence in the past.
  • Ohio schools will suffer.
  • Ohio tuition will skyrocket.
  • Services for the working poor like programs that make childcare affordable will be drastically reduced.
  • Investigations into allegations of mistreated and abused children will be slower to respond.

And that’s what happens if there’s only a 10% reduction across the board.  Kasich and his allies in the General Assembly have mentioned much larger cuts in the horizon because, remember, they’re still committed to repealing Ohio’s income tax, too.

Because of the federal stimulus, Ohio’s never had more money to improve and repair our roads and bridges than it’s had in the current budget.  If you manufactured orange construction barrels in Ohio, you’d be sitting pretty by now.  I don’t see how throwing another $400 million in that is: a) needed, b) possible, c) helps the Ohio economy as much or more than the 3C would, and d) helps reduce Ohio’s projected deficit any.

Kasich’s desire to being able to use the 3C money is not grounded in anything as high-minded as some kind of federalism based concept of state “flexibility.”  He doesn’t want to be seen in a middle of a tough budget that requires painful cuts during a slowly recovering economy as turning away $400 million in federal economic development money that some reporter is going to follow and report how another State benefited as a result.  All he’s really trying to do is dodge some bad press.  That’s it.

What Kasich wants to do is be seen as a guy who could both balance the budget and cut taxes all while using the federal government’s credit card to do so.  Kasich gets to cut taxes, gets the Obama Administration to pay for them, and then Kasich can run for federal office blasting the Obama Administration over the national debt.

Kasich wants that 3C money for no other reason than to help pay for his tax cutting.  And let’s always keep this in the forefront of the discussion of the State’s budget.  While it’s true that the downturn in the economy obviously hurt Ohio’s revenues, the main reason Ohio has been facing a budget crisis is that an all-Republican state government in 2005 agreed to a plan to cut income taxes by nearly a quarter without any plan to pay for them but economic growth that never materialized.

Kasich promised more education money would be spent in the classrooms, now he’s talking about 10-30% cuts in education.  Yesterday, Joseph and I wrote about Kasich was flip flopping on “privatizing” the Ohio Turnpike and balancing the State’s budget with one-time money.  Now, he’s trying to get Obama to turn the 3C money into additional stimulus money he can use to pay for his tax cuts.

I’ve never seen a guy break so many campaign promises BEFORE even taking office.

  • Guest

    Even if he got the 400 million, that doesn’t fix the 1 billion dollar hold.

    Where are the jobs from the last tax cuts or from the Bush tax cuts? Looks like they just created votes for radical Republicans. I hope there’s a picture if him on his knees.

  • Anastasjoy

    This is head-spinning. He claims he was to rob the federal rail program of $400 million to use on roads instead but really not — really just to use on whatever he wants. And since he’s facing a looming budget crisis he wants to use that money as a one-time fix – something he has condemned Strickland for doing. And since part of that looming budget crisis involves reinstating the Taft tax cuts what he is really proposing is stealing rail money and simply putting it straight into the pockets of mostly wealthy Ohioans, since my portion of the Taft tax cut is at most a few dozen dollars. So it seems to me the whole scheme is really just Robbin’ Hood in reverse.

  • Anonymous

    How dare Obama tell John Kasich how he can use federal rail money that he opposed!? He must be in some sort of passenger rail cult.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget, he’s also proposing to do the same thing with public transit money (link: He really has something against people who don’t drive cars.

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  • Anonymous

    LOL! Republicanism is a cult.

  • Anonymous

    Now, you’re getting it! 🙂 And, he then gets the added bonus to run for federal office decrying the massive debt of the federal government while talking about how he cut taxes and balanced budgets… with nobody noticing that he did so on the back of the federal government’s debts.

  • Kremer 51

    The fact that Kasich even asked to have the money redirected for roads and bridges is wrong. The money was allocated to OH for passenger rail only whether we want it or not. There is no reason to turn down this money which would not only boost our economy, but help us to modernize our transportation system!

  • Anastasjoy

    What public transit money? Ohio allocates a laughable small amount for public transportation, I believe the lower per capita in the country.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sadly very true. Mostly because our constitution forbids the use of state gas taxes on anything other than roads. Hey, maybe Kasich can fix that when he re-writes the constitution to get more out of casinos?

    However, the Strickland administration dedicated $150 million in savings on federally-funded projects toward transit, and now the Kasich people are threatening to take it away and put it toward other parts of the budget. Fortunately ODOT announced today they are already spending it on green buses. Better hurry!

  • Anstasjoy

    Now this is a head-scratcher because when I did my major story on the 3C rail project I talked to some of the highway/trucking lobby guys who allegedly opposed it. I couldn’t find any evidence that one particular group I had been told opposed it did so and when I talked to their director, he said their concern was that gas tax money would be redirected to pay the subsidy but as long as that wasn’t on the table, they didn’t care. If it was forbidden by the constitution, this individual should have known that and never brought this up. I heard the issue about redirection of the gas tax brought up by a couple of people and am wondering why if it is forbidden.

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