In 2006, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law imposing a cap on state spending.  The state appropriation limitation (SAL) was set at 3.5% of General Revenue Fund (GRF) appropriations over the previous fiscal year.   According to the LSC analysis of the bill, the law was supposed to prohibit “the Governor from proposing and the General Assembly from making aggregate GRF appropriations that exceed the state appropriation limitation for each fiscal year.”

Kasich’s two budgets have increased appropriations by nearly double the limit set by the SAL.

report issued by conservative think tank Opportunity Ohio last week shows that “From Governor Kasich’s first year to his fourth year, Ohio’s budget has grown by 20.1% or 6.7% each year.”    The report also shows that the only Governor to reduce state spending since 1975 was Democrat Ted Strickland.

While Kasich and his budget director Tim Keen may have come up with some budgeting tricks to legally circumvent the limit, there’s no doubt that the Governor and the GOP-controlled legislature have violated the spirit of the law.    When asked about the SAL and Kasich’s budgets, Matt Mayer, President of Opportunity Ohio, did not mince words: “Unfortunately, politicians often say one thing and do another,”  said Mayer.  “On spending, they claim the mantle of fiscal restraint, but year after year vote for spending increases that exceed inflation. The reality of spending reductions remain a desert mirage we can always see yet never actually touch.”

Mayer’s report shows the jump is state spending from Strickland (in purple) to Kasich (in red):



And how do Kasich and Republican legislative leaders address the fact that they have increased state spending and increased sales and property taxes, all while cutting money from schools and local governments leading to an explosion of local tax levies?

They lie, deflect and try to blame the previous Democratic administration.   Near the end of budget hearings, the Akron Beacon Journal reports that Senate President Keith Faber claimed the latest budget was going to avoid the trap previous budgets fell into, and it wasn’t going to go down “the tax-more, spend-more path”.

Kudos to the ABJ for correctly pointing out the truth about Faber’s statement: “It isn’t true”

ABJ’s Michael Douglas points out the facts: “Ohio did not engage in “tax-more, spend-more” during the years before 2011.”  As a matter of fact, “Lawmakers actually reduced taxes for individuals and businesses” under Strickland while “Republicans rallied to the first Strickland budget because it held spending in check. Strickland then slashed spending during the final two years of his term.”

Republicans want to have it both ways.  They want credit for passing a law to put limits on state spending while passing two budgets that allocate funds at nearly double the limit they themselves had proposed.

They want to call themselves fiscal conservatives while real fiscal conservatives claim they have no “fiscal restraint”.

They want to paint Democrats as out-of-control taxers and spenders when, in fact, the last Democratic administration was the only one in four decades to decrease state spending while still maintaining funding for vital services like public safety and education, services the current administration cut.

And let’s not forget that this is the same set of self-proclaimed “fiscal conservatives” who complained the state had no long-term solution to transportation funding, then proceeded to approve a short-term, one-time solution that involves saddling the Ohio Turnpike Commission with billions in new debt to be paid off by raising tolls on Ohio’s turnpike users.

Kasich will soon be touring the state trying to sell Ohioans a line of BS about his fiscal policies, how he cut taxes, decreased spending, and initiated a miraculous economic turnout.   We urge everyone to remember: “It isn’t true”