When Kasich announced his tax hike for the oil and gas industry last month, his “friends” in the industry were completely shocked. Oil and gas lobbyists were shocked. Republican legislative leaders were shocked.
That’s because Kasich and his team, sitting in a back room somewhere, decided they needed to have an income tax cut on their record going into the 2014 elections, and the best way to get the money was to raise taxes on the booming shale gas industry. They did not, however, think it was necessary to involve anyone else in their decision making process.
They didn’t consult with anyone in the legislature, even though legislators would ultimately be responsible for introducing and passing the plan. And they didn’t talk to anyone from the oil and gas industry, even though they are the ones who will be directly impacted by the change.
Kasich made the decision in his little bubble and then announced it to the world at a press conference.
Needless to say, pretty much everyone was pissed off.
Oil and gas was pissed off because they didn’t want to pay higher taxes. Republican legislators were pissed off because it’s an election year and the last thing they want to do is make their big donors in the oil and gas industry angry or go on the record supporting a tax hike for businesses. And everyone else was angry either because they didn’t think the taxes on fracking were high enough or they thought the money was going to the wrong place – or both.
This is what happens when you don’t involve stakeholders in your decision making process. This is what happens when you make decisions surrounded by people who only know how to say “why yes! That DOES sound like a great idea Mr. Governor. Let’s Do THAT!”
This is the kind of behavior you expect from an administration in their first few months. But Kasich has been in office nearly a year-and-a-half now and he still hasn’t learned his lesson. And this was not the first time this has happened either.
Remember the outrage and shock from Republican Legislators and the Kasich-appointed Casino Commission when Kasich had Rep. Blessing introduce a bill to allow the Highway Patrol to make arrests inside Ohio’s casinos after the Commission had already decided to give the power to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation?
Remember Lynn Wachtmann’s anger when Kasich vetoed his initial Lake Erie Water Use bill after he spent months pushing it through the legislature?
This is what Kasich does. Or should I say, what he doesn’t do. And he was at it again this week.
The Dispatch’s Alan Johnson reported today that Kasich is moving forward with plans to build a holocaust memorial on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse.
You want to take a guess who knew nothing about the plan?
The guy responsible for the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse, of course.
Richard H. Finan, a fellow Republican, former Ohio Senate president, and current Chairman of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) told the Dispatch: “We knew nothing about this. Not once did anyone ever approach us.”
Finan expressed some concerns over building a modern memorial on the grounds of the Statehouse, which was recently restored to its Civil War-era look, but his major concern was with the feasibility of the project: “You can’t build a memorial over that parking garage. It’s not built to withstand that kind of thing.”
You’d think Kasich, just maybe, would have thought to ask if it was even POSSIBLE to build a memorial on the site before he started making promises that the ground over the Statehouse parking garage couldn’t keep.
But as we’ve seen time and time and time again, Kasich isn’t concerned with the small stuff. He’s an idea man. And when he has a big one – God forbid ANYONE get in his way.
Kasich comes up with the ideas and then he expects his staff to figure out the details. Kasich wanted a tax cut and he told his staff to make it happen. Kasich wanted a memorial built at the Statehouse and he told his staff to make it happen.
Unfortunately for Kasich, he also told his staff they needed to take over control of the Ohio Republican Party from Kevin DeWine, and it seems that has left him a little short handed around the office for all the other work.
As Budget watcher pointed out last month, Kasich’s deputy legislative director, Ben Kaiser, recently left Kasich’s staff to work full-time on the effort to unseat DeWine. And he’s not the only one who has been focused on the effort.
I can’t help but wonder… maybe if Ben was still in the office, he would have remembered to call Niehaus or Batchelder, and maybe the legislature wouldn’t be completely pissed off at Kasich for his tax plan right now.
And maybe if the rest of Kasich’s staff wasn’t out attending central committee hearings, pressuring committee members, circulating petitions and working with lobbyists to unseat DeWine, someone would have remembered to call the guy at the Statehouse to ask: hey, do you think the parking garage could support this memorial we want to build?