John Kasich and Mary Taylor kicked off their campaign for the Governor’s office in January of 2010 making promises. Lots of promises. Crazy promises. Promises that a lot of us said could never be kept. Promises that are now, not surprisingly, being broken.
A lot of people said Kasich was just full of crap and intentionally lying. But I never believed that was the case. Instead, I’m sticking to my belief that he just had no clue what he was talking about. And, to this day, that still seems like a fairly accurate assessment.
Kasich spent a great deal of time during and after the campaign talking about his time in Washington. Which is all fine and dandy. But when it came down to having a firm grasp on the problems Ohio was facing, and the processes currently in place for dealing with those problems, Kasich showed a serious lack of understanding and general sense of disinterest – malaise even – when the topic came up.
And while I can’t really explain the disinterest, the lack of knowledge certainly makes sense.
John Kasich left state politics the same year Michael Jackson released Thriller (1982). John Kasich has been out of the loop for nearly 3 decades. And there is no doubt in my mind that this contributed to the large number of crazy promises he made during the campaign.
Promises like… planning to completely scrap Ohio’s income tax. Democratic Chairman Redfern correctly called Kasich’s income tax plan “kooky, nutty, bizarre, without merit.” But this was only the beginning.
Kasich also promised not to ask the feds for any money. He claimed he didn’t need their help. He actually opened his campaign attacking Governor Strickland for taking federal stimulus dollars in the middle of the worst economic crisis in our lifetime:
“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.”
– John Kasich – January 15, 2010
Not taking federal money? Killing the income tax?
Kasich obviously had no clue where the bulk of state revenue comes from. This graph from his own budget bluebook might have helped.
See those yellow and blue pieces? Those represent federal dollars and income tax revenue totaling almost 60% of General Revenue Fund (GRF) revenue for this year. That’s the stuff candidate Kasich was promising to cut.
As Governor, Kasich suddenly got a crash course in the Ohio budget. Which likely explains why we haven’t heard much of anything about his plan to phase out the income tax since he was elected.
But what about his promise not to seek out federal dollars?
A quick the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Budget Redbook shows that ODOT “relies heavily upon its share” of federal of funds, much of which comes to us in the form of gas tax dollars from the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). In Fiscal Year 2010, Ohio received $1.3 billion from the HTF, which would cover nearly half of their $2.8 Billion budget for FY 2011.
So it should come as a surprise to no one when Tom Breckenridge of the PD reports that Kasich’s ODOT team is now applying for more federal money to help fund the Cleveland Inner Belt Bridge project. ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner told the PD: “We would hope (federal transportation officials) share our desire to get this project done sooner rather than later.”
We share your desire too, Steve. And we support Cleveland’s decision to pursue this money – especially after Kasich promised to postpone the project indefinitely to help build a case for his turnpike privatization plan. Then again, we’re not the ones who promised not to take federal funds.
Kasich’s plan to eliminate the state income tax seems, thankfully, to have been tabled for now. But the same can’t be said for his promise not to beg the feds for additional cash.
This isn’t the first time Kasich broke out the tin cup nor is it the first time he broke a campaign promise. And based on the absolute absurdity of many of his campaign promises, and the serious reliance states have on federal dollars, we guarantee you’ll be seeing more begging and promise breaking from Team Kasich in the very near future.