Last November Americans for Tax Reform announced that John Kasich had signed its Taxpayer Protection Pledge. According to ATR, politicians signing the pledge agree to “oppose and vote against/veto any efforts to increase taxes.”

So when Kasich introduced his transportation budget that included a 66% increase in the auto title fee, questions immediately surfaced about whether or not Kasich broke his pledge.

Today’s Plain Dealer article by Patrick O’Donnell floats the question again but doesn’t quite answer it for you. Let me help clear it up for you…

Kasich absolutely broke his pledge.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I disagree with the increase. Governor Strickland increased a number of state fees in order to help balance the budget without actually raising taxes. And when he did the Republicans quickly and forcefully attacked him for “raising taxes”.

But Ted never took anti-tax pledge.

Kasich did.

Kasich already had his people prepped and read to defend the “fee increase” when the question came up:

“Fees and taxes are very different things, and fee changes — both up and down — should reflect the underlying services’ costs,” said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols. “We have always said that people who benefit from a service should pay for that service instead of having it subsidized by other taxpayers.”

While this sounds like a good defense from Nichols, it’s really just a load of crap. Car title services were already fully funded with the existing fee. And the new fee has nothing to do with that service. The new fee goes directly to the general purpose Highway Patrol fund, not to pay for licensing services. According to the bill:

(4) The registrar shall pay ten dollars of the amount received under division (A)(2) of this section, for titles issued on or after October 1, 2011, into the state treasury to the credit of the state highway safety fund created by section 4501.06 of the Revised Code.

Nichols statements are clearly intended to present the increased fee as a “user fee” in order to show that Kasich didn’t break his pledge. And if the new fee was actually going to fund licensing then he’d have a point because ATR’s definition of a user free requires requires that the money go to fund the service for which the fee is being levied:

“To qualify as a fee, a charge must fund a specific service, with no excess going into a general fund.”

But as I just pointed out, the money doesn’t go to licensing. It goes to the Patrol’s general purpose fund. Which is exactly where the ATR says the money CAN’T go.

Kasich broke his pledge. Simple as that.

  • “Read my lips…”

  • pragmatic_one

    When the initial budget is unveiled I think there is a good possibility that there will be such outrage that the calmer heads on the Republican side will cave and there will be some tax increases to generate revenue. I just do not see how it is possible to cut $8.7 billion without taking away things that will make many legislators unable to sleep at night or look at themselves in the mirror. I realize Kasich himself has not displayed any empathy that did not seem fake or scripted, but there are plenty on the Republican side who do have real empathy.

  • Pingback: Kasich’s breaks campaign promise with title fee increase()

  • Annakarima

    People who work for that arm of the US Treasury known as the Internal Revenue Service will tell you that Businesses do not pay taxes. Their customers do.

  • Lindalou50

    Sorry , I have to disagree. If there is a Republican that feels that way, Please stand up now. I know that could be a problem since a lack of a spine or common decency makes that virtually impossible. I’m absolutely appalled at the what has come out of the Statehouse since Kasich’s got elected.

  • Adrienne

    Are these increased fees to pay for his increased police protection and the improvements to his house or are they to pay for the increased salaries for his rotten cronies? Steal from the poor to pay for the rich = Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. I wonder how the R run papers are going to cover this up. I wonder how he is going to lie about it.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Yes Strickland did invoke higher fees in several areas–
    The thing I find odd is this money goes into the Patrol Fund — isnt that same money that is getting drawn out to pay for the extra protection at his house
    Now the next (lie) will be how this money got replenished and didnt cost tax payers a thing ( because car dealerships will get the brunt of it? ) that stuff always gets passed on to us ( how dumb does he think we are )
    hmmmmm I thought he was patting himself on the back this week for eliminating things that made it hard on businesses to operate here
    the next four years will known as the “years of the levies”

  • Lindalou50

    As a former business owner I know who pays to keep afloat, we pass the cost on to our customers . I would explain to my customers than express my deepest apology for something I didn’t cause. If Kasich wasn’t so low down and sneaking he might get support. As it stands, we know what his agenda is… break the unions and put the screws to those who didn’t vote for him.

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