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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