When somebody mentions that John Kasich wants to cut the income tax rate, let’s try to remember that a more forthright governor, Democrat Jack Gilligan, daringly laid a new income tax at the wallet of every Ohio voter.
“If you don’t want an income tax,” Gilligan warned during his 1970 campaign, “vote for the other guy.” He won anyway, defeating Roger Cloud, and forcefully promoted the 1971 measure that earned him the title of “Father of the Ohio Income Tax”. The voters upheld the tax in a 1972 referendum, proving there are things that concern them more than Republican guff about the evil of taxes. (Even when Republicans get their way, it has been repeatedly shown that the benefits of such cuts generously trickle up and not down to the so-called “hard-working” breadwinners.
Gilligan was a man of cool college-classroom-honed intelligence, refreshing honesty, Irish wit and commitment to civilized governance for the people and probably overqualified to be the head of state.
Indeed his disregard for political caution led to his defeat by No-Tax Jim Rhodes by 11,000 votes in 1974 while some of his advisors were busily trying to offer him for a Democratic presidential nomination in 1976! (A few days before his loss in Ohio, his chief of staff sat in a hotel booth in Cleveland and showed me a carefully guarded roadmap to storm the 1974 Democratic mini-convention.)
It became an oft-repeated gag among statehouse reporters that although Rhodes had exploited his anti-tax scheme, he went to bed each night thanking Gilligan for the revenue and did nothing as governor to eliminate the tax. No dummy, Rhodes knew well enough that he needed the revenue to run his own shop.
For Kasich, his anti-tax charms, carefully framed for the election season, will be a subject of news stories and speculation on whether an income tax cut would be just what the doctor ordered as Ohio limps its way behind many other states from the dreadful GOP recession years.
It’s the usual GOP fantasy that will pass after election day when lame-duck Kasich’s thoughts will turn to a spot on the national ticket as a spectacular fund-raiser that his wealthy friends have anteed up to $15 million.
On that score, I can only wonder – but not for long – how that much money arrived in his pot for a campaign that has seen his opponent declassified. What could they possibly want in return from Kasich that cost them so much?
The Shadow knows. And so does everyone else paying the slightest attention.