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.