February 16, 2015

TEA Party Leader to Fox News: 11 Reasons to Stop Calling Kasich ‘Conservative’

Because he’s not.

The harsh truth was delivered in an open letter to Fox News’s Bret Baier, who consdiers Kasich a center-right Republican politician, by Mike Snead, Dayton TEA Party President. It reflects his personal views.

Well done, sir.

January 2, 2015

Kasich’s Four-Year Jobs Report Card: Unimpressive

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:19 am

The Ohio Republican Party, apparently in the misbegotten belief that the governor has a credible chance of becoming president, has become quite annoying in touting the Kasich administration’s allegedly fabulous success in turning the Buckeye State’s employment situation around.

So let’s look at what has really happened, and compare it to other states.

I looked at Establishment Survey (company payoll) data for all 50 states and DC, identifying each one’s seasonally adjusted peak number of jobs, lowest job total during and after (mostly after) the recession ended, and their November 2014 employment figures.

Here’s how Ohio ranks in those three items (all supporting details are here):



  • Ohio’s percentage job loss from its pre-recession peak, which actually goes all the way back to March of 2006, was the ninth-worst (42nd best) among the 50 states and DC. Those who suffered even more in percentage terms were AZ, CA, FL, ID, MI, NV, OR, SC and WY.
  • Ohio’s job gains since its trough, which occurred in February 2010, place it in the middle of the pack. States with percentage gains exceeding 10 percent include (in high to low order) ND, TX, UT, CO, CA, FL, SC and WY.
  • Ohio employment is still 2.29 percent below where it was at its March 2006 peak. That standing is eighth-worst in the nation. Only AL, MS, NV, NJ (ahem, Chris Christie), NM, RI and WY have seen worse results in recovering lost employment.
  • The “U.S. Exc. Texas” figures are there as a special gift to a fever-swamp Ohio blogger who used to pose as a journalist. Without Texas, which has governed itself in direct opposition to how the federal government has managed its financial affairs, we would only have the barest (+0.17%) of job recovery since all states’ combined pre-recession peaks. If all states had mimicked Washington, there’s no way we’d have an overall jobs recovery yet. (And yes, I’m aware that the current “jobs recovery” includes far more part-time and far fewer full-time jobs — so even what we have isn’t anything calling for any level of satisfaction, let alone celebration.)

Why Ohio’s employment results are anything to crow about is a mystery to me — especially after you consider that Metro Columbus, though its employment growth has slowed during the past 12 months, has still gotten a disproportionate percentage of Kasich-era job growth.

Some may criticize me for looking at total employment instead of private-sector employment. Well, I have news: Contrary to conveyed impressions, seasonally adjusted state employment has grown by 4,600 since December 2010, when the “New Way, New Day” crowd arrived.

November 14, 2014

That Kasich ‘Magic’: Ohio Turnout Was Really Down by Over 11 Points (i.e., Over 21 Percent)

It turns out that Nate Silver’s turnout map was way wrong about Ohio. I don’t have time to audit his state-by-state claims, but someone should.

Silver’s map says Ohio turnout was down by 8.7 percent.

Uh, more than double that, as seen in a press release this morning from Tom Zawistowski of Ohio Citizens PAC (bolds are mine; some minor editing was done and paragraph breaks added by me):

Media Spin of Kasich Win in Ohio Distorts the Facts


Akron, OH – Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, today rejected the spin the media is putting on the re-election of Ohio Governor John Kasich, prompted by Kasich and his staff, as a distortion of the facts.

Kasich won re-election by a 31% margin and won in 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties. He and his team are trying to use the results, such as their winning “69% of Independent Voters, 60% of Women Voters, and 57% of Young Voters”, to suggest that Kasich could be a viable republican candidate for President in 2016.

Commenting on the Governors “race,” Zawistowski said “Here are the facts that the media is leaving out of their post election reports of what actually happened in Ohio. As the chart below shows, nearly a million more Ohioans stayed home this year compared with 2010 – 3,956,045 vs 3,010,760 – because the voters are not stupid and they knew they had no real choice for governor.

This year Kasich ran virtually unopposed, due to his nefarious actions, and had … $20 million compared with $4.6 million for FitzGerald, yet he only attracted a measly 33,000 more votes than he got in 2010. Which shows that his popularity is not what he claims.

Furthermore, 88,000 Ohioans voted and left the Governor’s choice blank, more than his margin of victory in 2010. In his two elections for governor, Kasich has yet to attract even 25% of the votes in the state – having had only 23.5% of voters vote for him in 2010 and only 24.81% in 2014. Hardly a mandate.

Kasich did not get people to vote for him, he only got people to not vote at all and stay home. It they would not vote for him his year, they would not come out to vote for him for president in 2016, they would come out to vote against him.”

Zawistowski concluded, “We just had an election for Governor in which not one issue was discussed. Not one debate was held about the actual state of the Ohio economy and our future direction. Despite Kasich’s dubious claims of economic growthOhio is 44th in the nation in job growth, we are still 200,000 jobs down from where we were when the bottom fell out. We haven’t even recovered let alone grown jobs and Kasich is just blowing smoke about how everyone is doing great.

Does anyone believe that Kasich could win Ohio in a presidential race when Barack Obama got over 1,000,000 more votes in 2012 than Kasich did in 2014 running without any credible Democratic campaign or money against him? Particularly after alienating the conservative base with his liberal first term record as indicated in the chart below?

Like we said before this election, not only would conservatives not vote for John Kasich for president, we would not work for him as a presidential candidate and he can’t win if we don’t.  He would not have won re-election this year if he had not bribed the democrats and kept other candidates off the ballot. What he did to win re-election this year will not work in a presidential election.”

Actually, the turnout decline is higher than the 21.5 percent seen in a straight calculation from the first table above (38.66% vs. 49.22% is a 10.56-point, 21.5% decline), whose registration and turnout numbers, after getting burned by Silver, I traced back to the Ohio Secretary of State’s site.

That’s because, in the meantime, Secretary of State Jon Husted did a purge which took 245,000 dead people off the voter rolls.

Redo the math for 2010 considering the purge, and you end up with turnout of 50.77 percent. That would mean that the decline from 2010 in 2014 was really almost 12 points (11.91, to be exact), or 23.5 percent.

Nothing creates apathy and depresses turnout like a poorly performing governor who for all practical purposes is unopposed.

Zawistowski is right. How any of the above credibly translates into presidential viability for John Kasich is a mystery.

What’s not a mystery is why the national press is presenting Kasich favorably as a potential 2016 candidate. It’s because, if he were to somehow win the Republican nomination, he’d lose the general election.

October 18, 2014

Ohio Casinos’ Parent Is on the Rocks; Ohio Press is AWOL

This one appears to be heading for the “Be careful what you wish for” file.

Ohio has staked a significant portion of its future economic well-being on the gambling industry, and, with voter approval, removed legal barriers previously in place which prevented its growth.

Setting aside the moral hazard issues (which are of course quite relevant), gambling casinos have been sold as economic panaceas throughout the nation, and it’s simply not working out. They certainly didn’t save Detroit, and Atlantic City is dealing with extraordinarily hard times. Many other dominos may soon fall.

A major player in that industry is in deep trouble, and its apparently imminent implosion would almost certainly have Buckeye State impact:


Caesars Entertainment said Friday it is prepared to start formal discussions with some of its bank lenders as it works to reduce its debt and stave off what some see as near certain bankruptcy.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the casino company announced that it has reached out to some of its creditors – namely bank lenders – to find ways to ease pressure on its $24.2 billion debt.

That came a day after the company promised its creditors who are first in line a claim on cash held by its debt-strapped subsidiary Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. in case it defaulted. It’s been in formal talks with that group of creditors, too, for about a month.

…  The tricky part … is the creditors who are second-in-line.

… the company owes more than the company is worth to those who are first-in-line to be paid back. That leaves little for those second in line.

Those in the latter position have declared Caesars already in default of its agreements. The company dismissed the contentions in recent securities filings.

“It’s just hard to see everybody agreeing to a deal without a pretty long bankruptcy proceeding,” (Fitch Ratings financial analyst Alex) Bumazhny said.

The company has 52 casinos in the United States and abroad with most bearing the Caesars, Harrah’s and Horseshoe brand. About 68,000 people worked for the company at the end of 2013.

The company’s related press release is here.

Properties of immediate Buckeye State interest include Horseshoe Cincinnati and Horseshoe Cleveland.

The parent company lost $853 million on $4.2 billion in revenues during the first six months of this year. It had interest expense of $1.25 billion during that period.

None of this is news at the Cincinnati Enquirer, at least based on a vain search for the word “Horseshoe” on its home page, and the results (i.e., none relevant) of a search on “Horseshoe.”

Cleveland.com appears to be similarly devoid of news.

6-1/2 years of a miserable national economy, dating back to the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s inception, have left most Americans with little discretionary income. Ohio has over that period been harder hit and has recovered more slowly and unevenly than most other states. People with little discretionary income and a modicum of sense aren’t inclined to gamble away what little they have.

This doesn’t appear to be destined to end well. If it doesn’t, it will apparently come as a big surprise. It shouldn’t.

October 1, 2014

Kasich’s Annoying Video (UPDATES: ‘President Kasich?’ and a ‘D’ From Cato)

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:03 pm

Here is Team Kasich’s most recent back-patting two-minute video:

Aren’t they clever?

Every stat and characterization cited in the video’s audio is made by a broadcast journalist, and relates to a prior (undisclosed) period and often a prior year. So no one is actually lying.

But let’s do a more current reality check, and look at job growth in the 50 states and DC during the past 12 months (full detail is here; source data is at Table 5 here):


Ohio is #48.

Isn’t what we’ve seen in Ohio during the past 12 months about what occurred during Ted Strickland’s four years (though with job losses fed by the nationwide downturn), with only Michigan, Florida and Nevada or maybe one other smaller state coming in worse?

Why yes, that’s what Kasich’s video tells us: Ohio was #48. It’s Groundhog Day.

While we’re in the neighborhood, look at New Jersey at #50. Chris Christie for President? Really?

Also while we’re in the neighborhood, Wisconsin under Scott Walker hasn’t done so badly at #21. So why are Democrats in the Badger State thinking they can beat Walker by hammering on “jobs”?

Some may point out that Ohio’s seasonally adjusted 12-month change is far less than the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) version, which at Table 6 at the link shows Ohio picking up 57,800 jobs, a 1.1 percent increase. There seems to be no really good reason for such a large difference, and longtime readers know I prefer unadjusted numbers anyway. But if you take the NSA version as correct and throw it into the above SA list, Ohio would still be no better than about 31st. Whoopee.

The last thing Ohio needs is “four more years” (the Nixonian refrain at the end of the video) like the past 12 months — but that looks like where we’re headed.


UPDATE, October 2: Connie Schultz, at Politico Magazine, fails to tell readers until deeeeep into the piece that she is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown’s wife.

The article title … “President Kasich?”

To give readers an idea of how out of touch her article is, here are a few snips:

  • Describes Kasich as having a “burnished conservative pedigree.”
  • Kasich is “the fiscally conservative Ohio governor.” The state spending numbers, not to mention Kasich’s ram-through of Medicaid expansion, say otherwise.
  • Apparently, only “Ultraconservative activists tend to talk about Kasich in terms of betrayal.” Rubbish, Connie.
  • The referendum failure of SB5′s attempt to rein in out-of-control public unions was “a decisive inflection point in his journey from hardline conservative to centrist.”
  • Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges claims: “John Kasich is the Tea Party. The Tea Party already won.” Sheer fantasy, guys.

Schultz gets it right when she quotes We the People Convention director Tom Zawistowski saying that Tea Party activists will make sure the nation knows the truth about Kasich’s first four years should he attempt a presidential run.

UPDATE 2, October 2: Kasich gets a “D” on Cato’s state fiscal policy report card. With a numerical grade of 44%, he’s tied in 37th place for the lowest-rated Republican govenor on the list with Michigan’s Rick Snyder. All 12 governors grading lower than the Midwestern pair are Democrats.

July 18, 2014

June Ohio Jobs Stats: 5.5% Unemployment; 13,500 Payroll Jobs Added; Workforce Shrinks Again

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:22 am

June’s Regional and State Employment and Unemployment News release tells us that Ohio’s unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent, that the state picked up 13,000 payroll jobs, and that its workforce shrunk by 4,800.

And once again, the state’s “honor roll” performance in “significantly” adding jobs, supposedly 29th in the nation in adding jobs during the past 12 months, really isn’t:


“Ohio: We’re number 34!”

As to the workforce and payroll employment growth:


While the nation’s civilian labor force has increased a bit during the past 3-1/2 years — but by nowhere near enough to absorb all new potential workers, thereby causing millions of discouraged Americans to go to the sidelines — Ohio’s has shrunk.

In the three years ended in May (latest stats available), Metro Columbus’s labor force has grown, meaning the shrinkage in the rest of the Buckeye State has been even more severe than statewide stats would otherwise indicate.

The state’s payroll employment growth during the past 3-1/2 years trails the rest of the nation, while Metro Columbus’s beats it.

Take away Metro Columbus, and payroll employment growth in the rest of Ohio is less than two-thirds of that seen in the rest of the nation — and volumes have been written about how job growth since the recession ended has been completely unacceptable.

June 24, 2014

Ohio Employment Growth: We’re Number 37

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:58 am

On Friday, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics listed 31 states with “statistically significant” employment growth during the past 12 months.

Ohio was on the list, with 46,800 jobs added, constituting an increase of 0.89 percent during that period. That’s the lowest percentage payroll growth on the list.

Less than 1 percent growth in 12 months didn’t strike me as legitimately significant. Additionally, after crunching the numbers on the list, I found that the gap between Ohio and Pennsylvania, the state with the second-lowest job additions percentage of 1.09 percent, was quite large.

I thought that quite a few states not listed would have turned in performances between Ohio’s and Pennsylvania’s. I was correct, and even found a couple of states which beat out Pennsylvania. Having adjusted the rankings, Ohio comes in at number 37:


There is good news. Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent in May.

Unfortunately, much of that drop occurred because, according to the BLS’s Household Survey, the state’s workforce fell by 14,300.

This is not how a labor market genuinely improves.

May 28, 2014

Ohio Update: Recent Job Growth Is Decent, But the Statewide Workforce Is Still Shrinking; Most of the State Continues to Suffer While Metro Columbus Prospers

Filed under: Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics — Tom @ 12:03 pm

The good news is that Ohio’s official unemployment rate has fallen sharply during the first four months of 2014. After staying above 7 percent during all of 2013, the rate is now a seasonally adjusted 5.7 percent, and is finally meaningfully below the national rate, currently at 6.3 percent.

But the news is far from all good.

Preliminary results indicate that Ohio employers, both public and private, added 12,600 seasonally adjusted payroll jobs in April. That’s a strong number, and I hope it doesn’t get revised away. But that’s what the state’s economy really needs to be adding every month — and it hasn’t been. Only 55,300 payroll jobs have been added in the past 12 months; Ohio is #29 in the nation in percentage employment growth during that time. Take out April’s preliminary number, and that leaves 42,700, an average of less than 4,000 during the previous 11 months. Total payroll employment of 5.298 million is still 156,000 below the March 2007 peak of 5.454 million.

Since Team Kasich likes to crow about private sector jobs added, let’s look at that:


Yes, since January of 2011, Ohio’s private-sector employers have added 252,000 jobs. But total private-sector employment is still almost 112,000 shy of the March 2006 peak. Adding 6,500 private-sector jobs per month (rounded), as the state’s economy has done since John Kasich became governor, will get Ohio back to its pre-recession private-sector employment peak in September or October of 2015. I don’t recall Kasich basing his 2010 campaign on the idea of taking almost five years to achieve a turnaround.

The recent employment news from the Household Survey is better, but it has needed to be — and there’s a long, long way to go.

During all of 2013, fewer than 15,000 additional Buckeye State residents found employment. In 2014 (seasonally adjusted), almost 66,000 more found work in just four months. But after basically holding steady all of last year, Ohio’s workforce has shrunk by almost 17,000. The state’s workforce is 64,000, or about 1.1 percent, smaller now than it was in January 2011, even after declining by almost 153,000 during the preceding 48 months. Household Survey employment is still over 230,000 below its December 2006 peak. The state’s economy has only regained about 40 percent of the 389,000 Household Survey jobs which were shed before things finally bottomed out in September 2010. At that rate, full Household Survey jobs recovery will occur sometime during the summer of 2019 (seriously — and excluding the first four months of the 43-month period involved and using a Kasich-only average slightly worsens the result).

Now let’s look at the other bug in Ohio’s job-market performance, namely how the recovery has been great in Metro Columbus, and mediocre or worse in most of the rest of the state. I’m using not seasonally adjusted figures for the past 36 months, since not all data is available on a seasonally adjusted basis:


Household Survey employment growth in Metro Columbus is four times greater than what we’ve seen in the rest of the state. The rest of the state’s Household Survey employment growth is less than one-third of the overall U.S growth rate.

The news in Establishment Survey payroll growth isn’t as awful, but it’s unacceptable. Columbus has added payroll jobs at over double the rate in the rest of state, which in turn badly trails the national average.

Additionally, while Columbus’s workforce has grown by over 19,000 in the past 36 months, the rest of the state’s workforce has contracted by almost 95,000.

Except for Columbus, it’s safe to say that Ohio is losing a lot of existing and potential productive workers (i.e., college grads) either to other states or to general discouragement.

One has to wonder how much different the rest of the state’s results would have been if the Kasich administration hadn’t continually threatened to quadruple the severance tax on oil and gas extraction. When resources to be had are available in multiple states, companies choose the path of least resistance in deciding where they will deploy their equipment. I believe that further investigation would reveal that other states have seen much faster growth in fracking and other forms of extraction during that past three years than Ohio has.

Fortunately for John Kasich, he’s facing one of the worst opponents ever in this fall’s general election. Unfortunately for him, he’s not running for “County Executive of Franklin and Surrounding Counties.” He’s trying to be reelected governor of the entire Buckeye State. If his bumbling opponent figures out a way to leverage the rest of the state’s misery and credibly blame the incumbent, what possible response (other than to claim that Edward FitzGerald would be worse — which is likely the case, but no one can prove that) will Mr. “New Way, New Day” have?

May 1, 2014

Ohio Primary Issue 1: The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law Say Vote ‘No’; I Agree

Filed under: Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:00 am

From the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law (HT to an emailer; bolds are mine):

Ohio Taxpayers Beware: State Issue 1
Proposed Constitutional Amendment would further increase already-historically-high state spending, result in tax increases

Columbus, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today took action to educate on and warn Ohio taxpayers of State Issue 1, which will appear on the May 6, 2014 primary ballot.

State Issue 1 proposes to amend the Ohio Constitution “to fund public infrastructure capital improvements by permitting the issuance of general obligation bonds.” Essentially, the state seeks to borrow and spend money it does not currently have to address roads, bridges, wastewater treatment systems, water supply systems, and other infrastructure spending. State legislators voted, at the end of 2013, to place State Issue 1 on the May 6, 2014 ballot through passing Joint Resolution 6 (“SJR 6″).

There has been very little public debate on the issue leading up to the election, and many citizens are largely unaware of the details of proposed amendment. Accordingly, in its Policy Briefing on State Issue 1, released today, the 1851 Center explained the following:

  • The proposed constitutional amendment explicitly authorizes its new spending to be paid for through taxation, and if enacted, would almost necessarily result in a tax increase.
  • The proposed amendment would mandate an additional $1.875 Billion in spending at a time when Ohio has just implemented a state budget that is the largest in its history, and growing significantly larger each year. (In 2013, Ohio’s state government spent a record $27.4 Billion. In 2014, state spending is set to rise by an astounding 10.3 percent, to $30.2 Billion).
  • The proposed amendment would undermine Ohio’s constitutional balanced budget requirement and debt ceiling by unbalancing the Budget and exceeding the current debt limits; and by circumventing the budget process, the passage of State Issue 1 would likely create perverse political incentives that could further escalate state spending in the future.
  • Passage of Issue 1 will not “create jobs” because there is no evidence that government spending projects like this create jobs, rather than simply rearranging their location in the economy: while government spends more, Ohioans will have less disposal income, and will spend less to facilitate job creation.

“Given recent spending increases at the state level, passage of State Issue 1 is likely if not certain to increase taxes, undermine Ohio’s balanced budget requirement, further expand already historically large state spending and indebtedness, create perverse political incentives and cronyism, legitimize the notion of state spending as a viable means of job creation, further clutter an already bloated-beyond-recognition section of the Ohio Constitution, and redistribute wealth from poor and middle-class Ohioans to wealthy out-of-state investors,” said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center.

“Those considerations are sufficient to cause us to consider Issue 1 a poor reason to amend the Ohio Constitution – - Ohioans’ foundational compact with government.”

Ohioans appear particularly unaware that the proposed amendment specifically obligates the use of taxes to pay for the spending, meaning that spending must either be cut elsewhere, or taxes on the public will necessarily increase over time to pay for the spending.

The proposed Section 2s(D) explicitly contemplates that that the additional $2 Billion in spending will be paid for through “the full faith and credit, revenue, and taxing power of the state,” “excises, taxes, and revenues so pledged,” and “the levy, collection, and application of sufficient excises, taxes, and revenues to the extent needed for that purpose.”

A state debt study released in early 2014 by State Budget Solutions – - a national think tank – - concluded that even without the passage of Issue 1, Ohio already maintains the nation’s 4th-highest state debt per capita, second highest debt as a percentage of gross state product, and second highest debt as a percentage of spending.

The Center’s Policy Brief is here.

This should be an obvious “no” vote. I particularly resent the idea that the issue is on the primary ballot — a move that reeks of cynical politics.

April 5, 2014

John Kasich’s Calamity

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:59 am

And Ohio’s Governor wants to be President.


This column went up at PJ Media Wednesday evening and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.


In 2010, Ohioans longing for genuine reform after decade upon decade of virtually uninterrupted tax-and-spend government finally thought they had found their change agent in former congressman John Kasich.

The state hadn’t seen anything resembling conservative governance since the first year or so of Republican George Voinovich’s gubernatorial reign during the early 1990s. But just 15 months after what had been an impressive start, Voinovich began pushing for tax increases on booze and cigarettes. By the end of his second year, he and pliant Republican legislators were plotting soak-the-rich schemes. In 1996, Voinovich was the only Republican governor in America to receive a fiscal policy “F” from the Cato Institute. By that time, Republicans in the General Assembly were complaining that they needed equal time to respond to Voinovich’s annual left-leaning State of the State addresses.

Under Bob Taft, things got even worse. After treading water during his first term, Taft in 2003 seriously sullied his ancestors’ Republican and conservative legacies by ramming massive tax increases through the General Assembly. An alleged tax reform effort in 2005 barely nibbled around the edges while adding a horrid gross receipts levy to the mix. When a scandal-plagued Taft left office, Ohio’s business tax climate was fourth-worst in the nation.

Before the Voinovich era, Democrat Dick Celeste raised the income tax by 90 percent. After the Taft era, Democrat Ted Strickland allowed the spending spree which his predecessor had enabled to continue unchecked, even as the state’s economy went into free-fall. Over 400,000 jobs, a shocking 8 percent of statewide employment, disappeared.

The time could not have been more ripe for a genuine conservative to come in and not only right the ship, but also return Ohio’s economy, after over 30 years of watching other states pass it by, to a prosperous trajectory.

Kasich certainly looked like the guy who could and would do it. During the 2010 Buckeye State governor’s race, he repeatedly told audiences that “I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party,” and with good reason. While in Congress, he “was the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Budget Committee in 1997 that balanced the nation’s budget for the first time in more than 30 years.” He selected State Auditor Mary Taylor as his running mate largely because, while a state representative, she had defied the establishment by voting against Taft’s tax increases.

Despite passive-aggressive obstruction by the state’s Republican Party chairman and a desperate, media-assisted smear campaign by Strickland, Kasich become the first challenger to defeat a sitting Buckeye State governor in 36 years.

To his credit, Kasich did right the fiscal ship. His first two-year budget closed the projected $8 billion budget gap Stickland had left behind without increasing taxes. He enthusiastically signed a repeal of the state’s death tax. He made some progress cutting an overgrown bureaucracy. The state’s economy responded by generating over 90,000 jobs and growing by 2.9 percent during his first 12 full months in office. Both figures significantly outpaced the averages in the rest of the U.S.

Unfortunately, Kasich and state Republicans suffered a serious political setback in November 2011, when voters decisively torpedoed their attempt to enact collective bargaining reforms analogous to those successfully implemented by Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Since then, the Governor has been a different person, and his policies have veered into places even George Voinovich and Bob Taft wouldn’t go.

His reaction to the fracking boom has been to propose a 400 percent increase in the severance tax while ramping up the rhetoric against “big oil.”

After opposing Obamacre, Kasich turned around and championed Medicaid expansion. He spent months trying to shame opponents into supporting him by playing the “Christian” card, i.e., “You’re not really a Christian if you won’t support this.” When legislators still balked, he went around them and took his case to the Controlling Board, an obscure state agency which normally deals with completely unrelated matters. When it looked like the sitting members of the Controlling Board wouldn’t do his bidding, the Governor had the House Speaker arbitrarily replace two members who planned to oppose the move with supportive lackeys. The Wall Street Journal correctly described Kasich’s heavy-handed move as “lawless.” Washington isn’t the only place where tyranny, i.e., “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority,” has gained a foothold.

As with Voinovich and Taft, Kasich’s budget unsustainably expands spending by an anticipated average of over 5 percent per year through fiscal 2015. Half of that would still be way too much.

Ohio’s economy has responded as one would expect: poorly. Despite the strong head start, statewide payroll employment growth during the 37 months which ended in February now trails the rest of the nation — and over half of that growth has been in Metro Columbus, where payrolls have grown at triple the rate seen in the stagnating rest of the state. In the three years ended in January, the statewide labor force outside of Columbus shrunk by 64,000.

Luckily for Kasich, the Democrat opposing his reelection is best referred to as the Wreck That Is Edward FitzGerald. Thus, he will probably win reelection even after dissing the people who gave him his victory margin the first time around.

In late March, while touting Ohio’s fictional “economic turnaround,” Kasich refused to answer Chris Wallace’s repeated questions on Fox News Sunday about whether he was considering a presidential run in 2016. I take that evasiveness to mean that he’s serious about it. One year of strong governance followed by several lousy ones doesn’t get it, John.

April 3, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘John Kasich’s Calamity’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:21 am

It went up here late Wednesday Pacific Time.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog Saturday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.


Left on the cutting room floor: John Kasich is trying to appease the growing anti-Common Core wave (links added by me) —

In Ohio, a public hearing on a state bill to repeal Common Core lasted six hours, until 1 a.m., because angry tea partiers were lining up to give House Education Committee Chairman Gerald Stebelton a piece of their minds. The Republican was dubbed “Stompyfeet Stebelton” by the tea-party-affiliated group Education Freedom Ohio for his lack of enthusiasm for repealing Common Core.

Stebelton is term-limited after this year, so tea-party groups are focusing on John Kasich, Ohio’s GOP governor, who is up for reelection and has backtracked on his initial support for Common Core. They are pushing him to say he supports legislation to repeal it.

Complicating matters, Kasich appears to be good friends with Common Core champion Jeb Bush, and would probably be burning a bridge if he came out for repeal. The guess here is that he and his peeps have figured out that it’s a disaster, and are biding their time to see how consequential the Common Core opposition is before doing anything.

My response: Stand for something, John.

March 28, 2014

February Regional and State Jobs Report: Ohio Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.5% But State Loses 4,600 Jobs

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:10 pm

The government’s Regional and State Employment and Unemployment report for February came out this morning.

The good news for Ohio is that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent from 6.9 percent in January.

The bad news (but not quite as bad as it appears) is that the state lost 4,600 seasonally adjusted payroll jobs.

As I’ve often noted, February is a very important month in the job market. That’s because it’s the first of five months where employers actually (i.e., in raw numbers, before seasonal adjustments) add lots of jobs.

So if Ohio lost seasonally adjusted jobs in February, it would ordinarily mean that employers held back on their normal level of net February. Well, thanks to seasonal adjustment quirks (which, as is so often the case, demonstrates why one must look deeper), that’s only partially true:


Overall hiring wasn’t what you’d like to see, but the seasonally adjusted calc of -4,600 made things look far worse than justified. By contrast, the private sector number was basically as bad in comparison to the three post-jobs recession years of 2011, 2012, and 2013, but somehow converted to a job loss of only 600.

Bright-siders might point out that the Buckeye State’s job losses in January were very low. True, but continued slow net hiring during the next four months could very well offset that theoretically favorable result. We’ll just have to see.

Also, at the risk of nagging, I must remind readers that Ohio’s Household Survey employment growth since January 2011 has only been 109,000:


That leaves the Buckeye State 248,000 jobs short of its peak Household Survey employment level in January 2007.

And one more nag: Though I had to do the comparison on not seasonally adjusted data for Jan. 2011 through Jan. 2014 (February metro data isn’t yet available), almost 45 percent of the Household Survey jobs added during that period (50,500 out of 112,800) were in Metro Columbus. That represents a 5.8 percent employment increase, four times the 1.45 percent increase in the rest of the state.

While Ohio outside of Columbus continues to stagnate, Columbus thrives.

Columbus just so happens to be the seat of Ohio’s government. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. (/sarcasm)

January 23, 2014

Pro-Romney and Right to Work States Have Outperformed Others in Job Growth and Job Recovery

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:59 am

Other states have lagged.


In the 12 full months since President Barack Obama’s reelection, payroll growth has been greater in states which supported his Republican challenger and in right-to-work states. Additionally, pro-Obama and non-right to work states have made far less progress in recovering jobs lost during the recession.

Here’s how overall seasonally adjusted payroll growth From November 2012 to November 2013 compared:


During the 12 months involved, according to the Establishment Survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 24 states which supported Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful 2012 presidential bid added 1.008 million jobs on top of the roughly 55 million they had at the beginning of the period. That 1.83 percent growth is 44 percent greater than the 1.28 percent payroll growth — 1.015 million jobs added to an already existing 79.5 million — seen in the 26 states and the District of Columbia which supported Obama.

Put another way, if the 27 Obama-supporting governmental entities had generated additional employment at the same rate as those which supported Romney, a far from inconsequential 442,000 more workers in those states would have jobs.

The story is similar when comparing states which have right to work laws to those which don’t.

Including Indiana and Michigan, which passed right to work laws in early 2011 and early 2012, respectively, the 24 right to work states added 1.080 million jobs on top of the 60.0 million they had at the start of the period. That payroll growth of 1.80 percent is about 42 percent greater than the 1.27 percent payroll growth — 943,000 jobs on top of an existing 74.5 million — seen in the Obama-supporting locales. The analogous jobs shortfall in the non-right to work entities is 397,000.

Interestingly, whether a state had a Republican or Democrat as a governor during the period was not as important as whether that state supported Obama or Romney. Payroll growth in GOP-governed states was 1.58 percent, compared to 1.40 percent in states with Democratic chief executives.

Two of the chief reasons this is the case are Ohio and Pennsylvania. Republican Governor John Kasich’s Buckeye State has seen payroll growth in the past 12 reported months of less than 20,000, or 0.30 percent. Tom Corbett’s Keystone State has only seen job growth of 0.58 percent. Less populous Alabama and New Mexico have also been significant GOP-governed laggards.

What is really telling is how well or poorly states in the categories discussed here have regained the jobs they lost during the last decade’s serious downturn:


For this analysis, I compared each state’s current payroll employment with their individual peak employment levels (except for Michigan, which almost continually bled jobs during the previous decade; I treated November 2007 as the Wolverine State’s “peak”).

The 28 entities which supported President Obama — including North Carolina, which supported Obama in 2008 but Romney in 2012 — are still 1.82 percent, or 1.572 million jobs, below their collective pre-recession employment peak of 86.2 million. Meanwhile, the states which supported Republican candidates in both 2008 and 2012 are only 0.55 percent, or 286,000 jobs, away from their previous combined peak of 52.2 million. If it weren’t for Florida, which is still short of its peak by 437,000 despite adding 183,000 jobs in the past 12 months, the overall result for GOP candidate-supporting states would have been positive.

Commenting on the Obama-Romney results in a phone conversation, Chris Dubay at the Heritage Foundation made a general observation that “States which tax less and regulate less do better economically.” The Romney states fit that description far better than those which supported Obama. Even after removing resource-rich Texas and North Dakota from the mix, the remaining Romney-supporting states saw 12-month job growth of 1.64 percent.

The 22 states which have been right to work since their pre-recession peak employment levels peaked (i.e., not including recent converts Indiana and Michigan) are only 0.78 percent, or 422,000, shy of where they were. The shortfall for the 29 non-right to work entities is still 1.71 percent, or 1.436 million jobs. The right to work number would also be positive if it weren’t for Florida, which under then-Republican, now-Democrat Charlie Crist lost an almost incomprehensible 922,000 jobs, or 11.4 percent of its peak workforce, from March 2007 to December 2009.

In an emailed response to a request for comment, Patrick Semmens of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation asserted that the better results in states with right to work laws “prove that giving workers a free choice when it comes to supporting and paying dues to a union is not just morally right, but also is the correct answer for creating a dynamic economy.”

These results would suggest that citizens and governments of the states which have supported Obama or are resisting the implementation of right to work laws should consider doing things differently if they wish to try to replicate the relative successes seen in the other states.

January 7, 2014

I Wasn’t Looking For This Either …

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:41 pm

… but these things have a way of finding me.

A Conservative Intel email asked, “Which governors have reduced the number of state employees in their bureaucracies? You might be surprised at the answers.”

Since I have heard so much from the Kasich administration about how they have reduced state bureaucracy, I figured that this would be a good-news gimme, or at least a respite from the weak and bad news barrage on the employment and unemployment fronts yours truly has been dishing out going back at least to last spring.

So I clicked through.

Boy, was I wrong:


The other chart at the Conservative Intel post tells us that Democratic strongholds California (one employee per 80.1 residents) and New York (one per 77.3) have lower state employment per capita than Ohio (one per 71.5). Ouch.

January 6, 2014

I Wasn’t Even Looking For This (on Job Declines in Metro Cleveland) …

Filed under: Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:03 am

… but it found me, when I was looking to see when the next Metro Area Employment and Unemployment Report covering November comes out (that will be tomorrow).

It was in the “Retrospective Summary of September 2013 Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” at the end of October’s report (link will be overridden by November’s report tomorrow), done because the Bureau of Labor Statistics skipped issuing a September report because of the 17% government shutdown (figures are seasonally adjusted):

The largest over-the-year decrease in employment (from Sept. 2012 to Sept. 2013) occurred in Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio (-7,200), followed by Poughkeepsie, Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y. (-3,300), and Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. (-3,200). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment occurred in Decatur, Ill. (-4.7 percent), Manhattan, Kan. (-3.1 percent), and Ocean City, N.J. (-3.0 percent).

To be fair to our northeastern Buckeye State buds, I looked up the stats as presented and revised for October and November (which seems to have been posted prematurely):


The “good” news is that September’s year-over-year shortfall is now “only” 5,400.

The bad news is that the October and November year-over-year job declines increased to amounts even greater than what was originally reported for September, i.e., to 7,500 and 7,800, respectively.

The really bad news is that Metro Cleveland is still almost 66,000 jobs shy of its pre-recession peak of 1.079 million in April 2006, and has recovered less than 30% of the 92,500 jobs lost from that month to March 2010 (26,800 jobs gained since March 2010 divided by 92,500 is 29%).

I’ll leave it to readers to mutter their own Team Kasich economic malaise comments.


UPDATE: The seasonally adjusted 12-month decline per the Household Survey is just over 9,000 as of November. It was almost 12,000 back in April, narrowed from that point until September, and is headed the wrong way again.

The November 2013 v. 2012 not seasonally adjusted difference — more accurate because it’s supposed to reflect what’s actually there — was over 12,500.

UPDATE 2, Jan. 7: The Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed to the not seasonally adjusted Establishment Survey in reporting that November’s year-over-year Metro Cleveland employment drop was 8,100.