Many believe that with the help of the Lord, miracles can happen – just like John Kasich thinks he can catch fire, becoming the next Republican nominee for president in 2016.
Meanwhile, serious polling shows America has yet to warm up to him, even though he’s spent nearly four decades playing the role of politician-and-serious-thinker.
Fifteen years ago, following his transition from congressman to Lehman Brothers banker and Fox TV talk show host, he tried and failed to run for leader of the free world. And now, after more than four years in service to the presidential battleground state of Ohio as its go-go governor, he barely blips on the presidential radar screen
Kasich Fiddles While Budget Burns
Ohio’s Teflon governor may think he’s fireproof, but his historically-high $72.3 billion budget propsal showed how flammable it can be when House GOP Leadership Tuesday set it on fire, then hosed it down by deleting key components important to Kasich and his budgeteers.
House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger was joined by Finance Committee Chairman Rep. Ryan Smith to outline their substitution budget. Even though the speaker’s team whittled it down by $775 million, Mr. Rosenberger said their smaller budget builds on the executive branch proposal. But it was clear from the new course the House set today that Kasich again finds himself leading from behind, a not-so-slightly awkward situation given that Kasich has spent the past few weeks been traveling the county trying to raise money and name recognition for his presidential campaign by talking about his leadership skills back here in Ohio.
“Our primary goal in the legislature is to develop solutions that meet the needs of both Ohio’s citizens and the business community,” Chairman Smith told reporters today at the Statehouse. “Substitute House Bill 64 balances government spending and maximizes the quality of the services our state provides to individuals and businesses alike.”
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Gov. Kasich wanted $5.7 billion in income-tax cuts, proposing a 23 percent income-tax cut that would drop the top income tax rate on income of $212,400-plus to 4.1. Based on what the House offered today, he got hosed down nearly 80 percent to $1.2 billion via a 6.3 percent income tax cut beginning in tax year 2015, with a top-rate cap of 5 percent.
He wanted to hike sales-tax rates nearly nine percent [5.75%-6.25%], then increase the haul another $1.8 billion by casting his net to capture new services, and by boosting severance-taxes on fracking. Early this year he swiped at the industry, calling their low rates “a big, fat joke.” The joke is on him, it seems, now that the House gave him zip in tax hikes.
Maybe Kasich was using his long-time friend, campaign contributor and Silicon Valley guru Mark Kvamme as his inspiration to eliminate taxes for small businesses and sole proprietors on gross receipts of no more than $2 million. What he got was far less, a permanent 75 percent tax deduction for small business owners on their first $250,000.
And it looks like the former Chairman of the House Budget Committee is going to get some tax help, too. House Leadership decided to create the Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission “to discuss, research and make recommendations for further, more comprehensive tax reform in the state.”
Kasich Budget Estimates Questioned
Another curious tidbit: unnamed sources say Kasich’s budget estimates won’t be trusted anymore. Instead, the House will use estimates for tax revenue and Medicaid spending going forward from the General Assembly’s dedicated law firm, the Legislative Service Commission. Doing so, GOP Leadership thinks it can have maybe another half-billion more to spend on additional school funding, especially to rural districts who intentionally got shortchanged by Kasich, or maybe tax cuts, among other options.