For the time being, the answer appears to be yes. 

In 2008, John Kasich formed a PAC called Recharge Ohio that had three central policy platforms: 1) repeal Ohio’s income tax; 2) repeal Ohio’s estate tax (which Kasich called the “death tax.”); and 3) massive increases to charter schools.  Kasich called the repeals of the income and estate tax necessary if Ohio was to ever climb out of its death spiral.

He went to Republican event after event, appeared on conservative talk radio all the way through election day, talking about how he was going to repeal these taxes.  Don’t get me wrong, we caught Kasich publicly wavering some in more mainstream audiences who had concerns about how Kasich could possibly pay for it.  A year ago, most of the House Republicans co-sponsored a bill to repeal Ohio’s income tax over ten years.  However, the inability of Republicans to explain what they’d cut to pay for it lead to one of the co-sponsors to try to distance himself from his own legislation.

What was just a year ago a major policy proposal advocated by no less  than Josh Mandel and now Speaker Batchelder is now an orphan.  Not a single Republican has re-introduced a bill to repeal Ohio’s income tax.  After years of talking  about how vital it was for Ohio to cut its income taxes further, Ohioans’ income tax load won’t be one penny lower under Governor Kasich’s budget than they were under Governor Strickland.  That’s surprising given that Kasich declared at the press conference announcing Mary Taylor that the tax cuts enacted in 2005 failed because they “weren’t bold enough.”  Now his budget brags about how he preserves the final phase of those “failed,” timid cuts implemented by Governor Strickland before Kasich took office.

Even though a bill to repeal the estate tax had speedily passed a House Committee this year, it never made it to the House floor for a vote.  At the time, the House GOP leadership said they thought any estate tax repeal should be heard in the context of the budget.  Then Kasich’s budget was introduced… and it relies on estate tax revenues.  There’s absolutely nothing in his budget that anticipates the repeal that Kasich spent two years campaigning through Ohio calling a necessary act to pull Ohio out of a “death spiral.”  Apparently, Ohio is no longer in any need to ditch the “death tax” to pull out of its “death spiral.”

Today, the Dispatch’s Daily Briefing Blog reports that even if a Senate committee passes a Senate version of the repeal, we shouldn’t expect to see it voted on any time soon.

The estate tax brings in about $245 million a year to local governments and about $60 million a year to the state.

The Senate will first take care of the state budget, due by June 30. And then they won’t want to immediately rip a hole in the budget they just passed, he indicated.

In a news release today touting the Senate’s first 100 days of accomplishments, the estate tax was not listed among the objectives for the rest of the session.

Not even a priority  for the GOP Senate.  I don’t bring this up because I lament the death of these fiscally insane proposals, or to attack Kasich over not fulfilling promises I never wanted him to keep.  But the death of these repeal efforts put Kasich into a proper historical context that seems to be lost in the coverage on him.  He’s a guy known for making brash statements about how “vital” his conservative ideological agenda is to cure a major social ill only to see his ideas collapse under their own weight of impracticability. 

It’s something to keep in mind as Kasich pushes his agenda.  SB 5 and JobsOhio may not be any different.  Remember the discarded Kasich’s Recharge Ohio platform and consider them the next time Governor Kasich suggests some ideologically-driven piece of social policy is “vital” to pull Ohio’s economy out of the ditch.

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  • Guest

    ” The Senate will first take care of the state budget, due by June 30. And then they won’t want to immediately rip a hole in the budget they just passed, he indicated.” Why not since ripping up and wrecking stuff is what they are good at for regular people not their best constituents like Diebold and Bob Evans. I am surprised since evil millionaires are their core constituency so why not deliver on tax cuts which will make Ohio so much more appealing than it already is with our crappy weather and under employeed class of neo-serf labor going to the lowest bidder.

  • maxpatch

    The estate tax is something that should be kept at the local level. It is the place where a person can leave a part of his/her wealth to support the community in which he/she lived, not to the State of Ohio to re-distribute and reward those who want millions of dollars in loans and grants to move their corporate headquarters across town; as whose the case with Bob Evans.

  • Vel

    Frankly, I think there is some merit in NOT relying on people dying in your juristiction for funding government services. If the GOP had an idea that would replace the lost funding, I’d support getting rid of the “Death Tax” too. But when a Republican yells out “repeal & replace”, there won’t be any “replace”.

  • Anonymous

    Although I’ve read that John Boehner is under fire from the Tea Party for not slashing enough aid to the poor and elderly, I’ve not heard much from them about Kasich. Certainly they are irate about this. Has anyone seen any reaction?

    The realities of running a fiscally-challenged state (and country) are hitting home for these “new” Republicans. It’s not as easy as simple “repeal.” Their campaign pandering to extremists is officially biting them in the ass. Sorry, but countries, states, municipalities and schools are not businesses, and you cannot run them as such — and saying 1,000 times that you plan to do so will not change it.

  • dlw

    Your average thinking person acknowledges that there are no easy answers to things like the economy and the budget. Anything you cut has consequences. Any tax raised has consequences. Who gets hurt and who gets helped and who just gets ignored… deciding requires more than a toss of the dice. And it’s simply impossible to make everyone happy all the time (or even most of the time).

    I think that at the end of the day, this is what bothers me the most about the Palins and Walkers and Kasichs out there: they all have The Answer. Just do it Their Way and the world will be perfect and all will rejoice. Everything is a mess because those who have been in power have been too short-sighted to just do it Their Way.

    And now some of these people are in office and they’re trying to do it Their Way and guess what? It’s not working. Sometimes they acknowledge this by dropping their much touted plans (i.e., cutting our estate tax and our income tax). Sadly, other times they refuse to acknowledge this and continue to push forward. The true end-game consequences are difficult to foresee. But I suspect they will not be pretty.

    I automatically have more respect for a politician who will acknowledge the difficult road ahead, the tough choices, the impossible decisions, and the possibility that we’ll take the wrong road and have to turn around. These “I know how to fix everything so just sit down and shut up and follow me” types are not going to lead us anywhere good. And when you add to that the idea that government can and should be run like a business… that’s just ludicrous. Businesses are about making a profit, as much profit as you can. Governments are about making a world that is safe for our citizens and making sure those citizens are cared for when they can’t care for themselves. A business model cannot deal with such goals. Nor can people who view the world as a money-making opportunity.

    Originally I really did mean to reply to the content of this post… but I seem to have gone astray!

  • Anonymous

    Has moved away, Adam. There is no estate tax repeal reflected in his budget, and now his legislative allies have called it DOA.

    Most of the “facts” you cited come from conservative organizations that get their funding primarily from wealthy foundations whom an estate tax repeal would benefit the most. I wouldn’t call that “hard facts.”

    I agree that the threshold for Ohio’s estate tax is too low, and there should be changes to allow what few family farms that still exist in Ohio be transferred from generation to generation tax-free. However, equal to that is a recognition that there are plenty of estate planning techniques that already provide means to avoid estate tax implications.

  • Adam Nicholson

    @Modernesquire: You don’t appear to have actually read the op-ed I cited.

    Or if you did, do you mean to suggest that the Connecticut Department of Revenue is a “conservative organization”?

    How about the Boston Center on Wealth and Philanthropy?

    Read again – carefully.

    As concerns estate planning, the fair question remains: why should farmers, business owners, and entrepreneurs waste their time with estate planning? Why not let them use their money for more worthy causes, like building their businesses and farms and hiring more workers?

    Perhaps it has something to do with the life-insurance industry and estate planning lawyers who want their money 🙂

    For more research on that fascinating topic, see here:

  • Vanschaik

    The estate tax is a great example of an issue reacted to by emotion instead of actual thought. The Ohio estate tax amounts to a 6% tax rate on an estate with a net worth between $338,000 and $500,000 and 7% on the net value above $500,000. The Ohio Dept of Taxation states:

    The “net taxable estate” equals the gross estate less the
    following deductions:
    • marital deduction, where there is a surviving spouse;
    • funeral expenses and costs of administering the estate;
    • outstanding and unpaid claims against the estate at
    time of the decedent’s death;
    • unpaid mortgage or other indebtedness against property
    where the value of that property is included in the
    gross estate valuation; and
    • charitable contributions.

    This amounts to a tax of $44,700 on an state with a NET WORTH of $1,000,000. You’re trying to tell me someone needs to liquidate an entire estate with a NET WORTH of 1 million for a paltry 44.7 grand? That, my friend, is hard to believe.

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