“We believe in the philosophy that a growing economy is the best way to provide the resources that a government needs, as opposed to the view that places government’s first priority on meeting its needs by taking from taxpayers instead of serving them.”

There is no better example of the kind of upside-down, inside-out, muddled thinking Gov. John Kasich is famous for than this explanation by his spokesperson about why the harmful impacts delivered to communities large and small is actually a good thing.

Now that Gov. Kasich has essentially gone into hiding from the press after getting shellacked by Donald Trump last year, his interaction with media these days comes mostly from paid spokespeople. This was the case in a response to recent report by Policy Matters Ohio that paints a clear picture of the toll taken on Ohio communities from Mr. Kasich’s ill-founded belief in magical economic growth derived from income tax cuts.

The report shows that Ohio communities are working with $1 billion less, in inflation-adjusted terms, than in 2010. According to PMO’s report, “Ohioans feel it in poorly-maintained roads, reduced snowplowing, higher fees and fewer recreation options.”

Upside Down, Inside Out

Kasich’s public voice, Emmalee Kalmbach, told one reporter the report was so “disingenuous” as to constitute “fake news.”

 

Ms. Kalmbach criticized PMO’s report for not addressing the most significant revenue streams, income taxes, while focusing on lesser revenue sources. “The governor knows that economic growth is the No. 1 way we can help our communities and by staying focused on creating jobs and improving Ohio’s economy, many local governments are now seeing record revenues,” she said, the Plain Dealer reported.

At the same time Ms. Kalmbach was bashing the well-resourced report that shows just how poorly Mr. Kasich’s Administration has performed since he became chief executive, the governor is worrying about another recession based on months of declining state revenues.

Separate news from the nearly always Kasich-friendly Columbus Dispatch makes Ms. Kalmbach’s assertions specious and politically embarrassing. “Ohio’s tax revenue falls short of estimate again in December” informs readers that “State income-tax revenue in December came in below the estimate, making it the fifth-straight month that revenue missed its mark.”

If the report that total state tax receipts in December missed the projection by $37 million, or about 2 percent, leaving revenue nearly $300 million below the estimate for the fiscal year is more fake news, Gov. Kasich or his public voice should dispute these figures. But that won’t happen because the numbers are, sadly, not fake. Missing revenue targets that were already revised downward by $280 million at the beginning of the fiscal year is not fake reporting, as popular as that term describing the plight of journalism has become when it doesn’t suit the desired outcome by some politicians. State revenue falling $152 million from the same six-month period a year earlier is more not fake news.

Ms. Kalmbach said that “a stronger statewide economy spurs growth in local income and sales tax revenue, which in turn provides more resources for vital services across the state, without the need for a wide-scale increase in new levies.” She seems woefully ignorant of the fact that her boss has for the last 47 out of 48 months failed to even meet the national average for job creation. Being further oblivious, she ignores the fact that poverty under the Kasich Administration has risen. If Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, is any measure of a state’s economic well-being, why do nearly one million Buckeyes qualify for it if Gov. Kasich’s growth policies are so miraculous? If the governor has created all the jobs Ohio lost during the Great Recession, why are so many people dropping out of the labor force each month, an direct indicator they can’t find suitable employment?

As Plunderbund recently reported, Gov. Kasich’s cries of coming recession will come true if his Republican lawmakers in Washington repeal Obamacare with the help of President-elect Trump once he’s sworn-in to office less than two weeks. Ohio stands to lose as many as 126 thousand jobs in health care and related industries when tens of millions of federal funds stop flowing to Ohio, which will be among the top ten states hit hardest by the elimination of Obamacare, according to a report that the governor’s office has yet to weigh-in on as fake news or not.

If government under America’s system of democracy is of, by and for the people, it follows then that what government needs is what people need. Gov. Kasich knows all to well that Ohio has shifted the tax burden of government from businesses to the people. The governor is now trying his best to reduce the burden on business to fund government services. His two-pronged attack on government, by reducing income taxes for the rich and businesses, is reaping the reward of less state revenue. Growing the economy is good, as any competent politician will tell you. If growing the economy means corporate profits rise but workers are left out of the growth, what good comes from that? But improving the lot of workers has never been Mr. Kasich’s or his party’s priority. If left to more “Uberizing” of government, as Ohio’s governor says he wants to do, workers will become poorer in the process as corporations profit.

PMO’s report had the facts right: Ohio communities bear an unusually high share of health and human services costs. With state cuts to local levies and local government, funding for critical services like community mental health, children’s and senior services must be shared by the state.

Ms. Kalmbach’s claim that more tax cuts for the rich somehow equates to the government meeting its needs “by taking from taxpayers instead of serving them” is classic basic Kasich, which is to say, it’s inside-out, upside-down thinking at its best.

Kasich Cries Over ACA Dilemma

Gov. Kasich’s most recent demonstration of upside-down, inside-out thinking was seen when he spoke out loud about his party’s plans to repeal Obamacare. “Let’s just say they [his political party, Republicans] got rid of it and didn’t replace it with anything; what happens to those 700,000 people?” Kasich said.“What happens to drug treatment, what happens to mental-health counseling?” Keep in mind that John Kasich, after spending 18 years in congress and six years as governor of Ohio, has offered not one plausible substitute for the national healthcare program he’s moaning about repealing now, that he said he’d likely repeal when he was running for president. Only a practiced career politician could be on both sides of the issue at once.

Ohio’s perpetually petulant leader says he’s hearing talk of tax credits being a factor in replacing Obamacare. “OK, well, how far does that go? There’s a lot of details to be worked out. It’s a serious matter,” he said, forcing those who follow him to wonder where he’s been all these years, especially the past few months since he bowed out of the race for president last May?

Kasich gets mileage, and easy headlines, from being a complainer extraordinaire. But he always comes up short in proposing a solution to what he’s complaining about. The irony is that he sold himself as the adult-in-the-room who can bring people together to solve problems.

Well, governor, here’s your chance to show how smart, innovative and creative you are: deliver your plan that answers your own questions on the repeal-replacement of Obamacare.

 

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