UPDATE, 10:00 p.m.: Ask and ye shall receive — Straight out of the backroom of the sweatshop at Weapons of Mass Discussion, the no-frills item on the left is the latest in T-Shirt Tedwear.
I don’t know in fact what I’ll do after my first term. I don’t know if I’ll go for a second term or get a T-shirt shop in Key West, Fla. Unless I commit an impeachable offense, I’m going to be Ohio’s governor for the next nearly three years.”
The Daily Bellwether’s Bill Sloat asks:
Why Key West, guv? Why not Kelleys Island in your own state’s summer playground?
Allow me to explain, Bill, in eight words: Ohio has an income tax. Florida does not.
Climate is just a bonus (yeah, I know, so are six-inch cockroaches).
In sunny Key West, Ted will avoid income taxes on the pension I believe he’s entitled to as a long-time psychologist/social worker at the Lucasville prison. More important, he will avoid income taxes on the pretty substantial pension he’ll receive for his 12 years or so in Congress.
T-Shirt Ted (hmmm…. I think that nickname’s going to come in handy; artwork welcome) is just telling us that he plans to do what thousands of Ohioans, perhaps hundreds of thousands, have done over the past few decades, but at an accelerating rate since sometime during the mid-1990s, when Congress stopped states like Ohio from going after out-of-state pensioners for income taxes on pension benefits (the twisted “logic” was that the benefit should be subject to Ohio taxation because that benefit was based on work performed in Ohio). The acceleration has continued because Ohio’s politicians (GOP and Dems) have almost always decided that raising income and other taxes, and not controlling spending, would solve the state’s fiscal issues.
At first glance, it appears that Governor Strickland is choosing a “third way” this time around. He won’t raise taxes (there’s little blood left in that turnip anyway). He won’t take a serious look at structural spending control. Instead, he’s just going to have the state borrow $1.7 billion. Then even more Ohioans migrate to other states, perhaps with Ted among their number, it will be up to the unfortunate Ohioans who remain to deal with repaying it.
But wait a minute: In that just-linked State of the State speech, Strickland committed that $1.7 billion to items not budgeted, i.e., new spending. Unless I’m missing something, that means that nobody has proposed a solution to the still-looming projected shortfall of $733 million-$1.9 billion (though, for what it’s worth, so far in this fiscal year the state is about $150 million ahead of where it thought it would be at this point; go to the OBM web site for details as of the end of February).
So now what? Raise taxes after all (heaven knows where)? Seriously cut spending (that’s usually a missing chip in the Democratic gene pool)? Borrow even more?
As long as this nonsense continues, more and more Ohioans will be doing what T-Shirt Ted seems to be considering after 2010: Becoming ex-Ohioans.