July 21, 2005

This Explains How a Governor’s Approval Rating Plunges to 17%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:06 am

Yup, Bob Taft’s approval rating is a big, fat 17% (Plain Dealer link requires you to indicate zip code, year of birth and gender–zheesh).

Of course, what has come to be known as Coingate, plus the other problems at the Workers’ Comp Bureau, have left their marks. A Cincinnati Enquirer editorial from July 19 about the scandals is here.

But Taft’s low approval rating is still primarily due to how badly Ohio’s economy is lagging behind most of the rest of the country. This is of course largely because Taft and the alleged Republicans in Columbus always seem to have a tax-and-spend answer for any problem, real or imagined. (Don’t get me started on the Democrats, who say that the level of spending is still nowhere near enough.)

Perhaps the latest budget will play out differently and right the ship, but in a prior post after the budget passed, I expressed major disappointment that the bean counters thought it necessary to create a brand-new category of taxation–the “Commercial Activities Tax,” or CAT. The new CAT tax is a gross receipts tax on all annual business revenue above $150,000, and it has the potential in future years to be the go-to quick fix any time there appears to be the slightest revenue shortfall.

Now this morning’s Wall Street Journal, (link requires subscription), in the Fiscally Fit column by Terri Cullen, shows us one of the consequences of years of economic mismanagement. The column is primarily for homeowners who are falling behind on their payments, and it suggests that they consider a “workout arrangement” with their bank to head off foreclosure. But the article also happens to have a table of the US metro areas that have the highest and lowest rates of home foreclosures. Ohio metro areas have six of the ten highest foreclosure rates in the country (it could be seven if Greenville is the one in Ohio, but I think it’s really the one in SC or NC):

OHforecl CAforecl

Ohio voters should keep the pitiful results of the past 6-1/2 years in mind and do all they can to avoid a repeat performance in Columbus after Bob Taft leaves.
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UPDATE: The hits just keep on coming: “5/3 (Bank) lost $11M invested by state”
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UPDATE 2: Ken Blackwell, who may be the only remaining statewide official who can claim to be a conservative, teams up with Arthur Laffer, the godfather of supply-side economics (link may require registration), to criticize what has happened in Ohio, and to support a proposed constitutional Tax and Expenditure Limit (TEL) amendment that would limit state and local spending growth to the greater of 3.5% or the sum of inflation and population growth. I would support that in a heartbeat. The column gives me the impression that TEL will be on the ballot in November. If anyone can confirm or refute my impression, e-mail me here.