Gov. John Kasich has long believed in the theory that tax cuts stimulate the economy and produce jobs, so much so that he’s made a religion out of it. Tonight in Wilmington he’ll deliver more economic homilies on the power of income tax cuts to lift everyone up no matter their circumstances, a promise he made to voters last fall, when he promised his second term would be the best to come. His Tuesday night address to a joint session of the legislature in hard-hit and slow-recovering Wilmington is the latest in his series of off-road State of the State Speeches. Picked by Gov. Kasich this year to butter up new 33-year old House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger, Wilmington remains far away from recouping the 8,000 jobs lost in the Great Recession.
A big chunk of the governor’s belief system received a review Monday from one of Ohio’s leading independent economic analysts, who said there is no data that support it here in Ohio.
In a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch, reporter Randy Ludlow informed readers that the “closely watched state rankings, compiled by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, calculated Ohio’s overall job growth last year at 37th among the states. Preliminary rankings placed the state’s private-sector job growth at 1.14 percent — about half of the national average of 2.19 percent.”
Plunderbund has reported repeatedly, based on ASU’s analysis, how poorly Ohio is doing now compared to the roaring rate of return under former Gov. Ted Strickland, who unlike Gov. Kasich, normally out-performed the national average. Ohio’s job creation program under Gov. Kasich over the last year has been wanting, so it’s no wonder the governor will say tomorrow night that there’s a lot more work to do. For a change, he will be right.
Gov. Kasich and his team have touted his job creating powers, but clearly those powers leave much to be desired, as ASU finds. The article, “State of the state – Despite gains, more to be done,” also offered up another figure that sounds good, but as one of Ohio’s expert job number crunches told OhioNewsBureau Monday, it’s hodgepodge.
Ludlow stated that “Ohio still needs nearly 61,000 more jobs to return to pre-recession levels.” ONB contacted George Zeller, a research analyst based in Cleveland, who is a go-to source from time to time to other news groups, including The Cleveland Plain Dealer. ONB contacted Zeller, asking him to explain the discrepancy between Ludlow’s job figure and the figure Zeller regular cites, which is 46,000 more, at 107,000-plus? “Why the discrepancy, and who’s right, if that’s a legitimate question?” ONB asked.
Zeller responded with characteristic promptness and his unvarnished and unadorned recitation of the facts. What the Dispatch said, he told ONB, is “somewhat of a hodgepodge.” He cautioned that unemployment figures are frequently in error for numerous states, including Ohio, and so they are not very meaningful in this context.
“Ohio has gone 26 consecutive months with its job growth below the USA national average. The figures from Arizona State show this weakness as well. Ohio is recovering, but the recovery is too slow, as I said already. We are slowing the recovery down further by the substantial cuts in Government employment, precisely the wrong thing to do when recovering from a bad recession. But, we continue to do that anyway,” he said today.
Mr. Zeller acknowledged the import role manufacturing has played in driving the recovery, which seems perfectly understandable given Ohio’s historic economic strength, which grew out of so-called old-line industries that fabricated parts, especially for the auto industry. But Zeller also noted another aspect to Ohio’s slow pace of recovery, the losses in government that are slowing down the recovery, a vital point, he said, “the Dispatch ignored.”
“The continuously sub-par recovery also did not speed up from all of the tax cuts that were legislated in Ohio. The theory that tax cuts will stimulate the economy has no data that support it here in Ohio. So, of course we are proposing new tax cuts, that will not improve our growth rate, either.”