February 18, 2015

Memo to John Kasich and Ohio GOP …

Filed under: Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:21 pm

… if you thought you solved your Jason Hart problem last year by getting the funding pulled for Ohio’s MediaTrackers effort, you’re sadly mistaken.

From Watchdog.org:

Union bosses investing in Ohio Senate Republicans

It is sad that this matter needed airing, and that no one else but Hart would air it.

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.

February 10, 2015

Challenging ‘Kelly and Michael,’ John Kasich, the General Assembly, and Ohio’s Media: Heed the Warnings of the ’2014 Top Teacher’ Driven Out by Common Core

From Elyria, Ohio (HT Paula Bolyard at PJ Media):

Elyria High’s Stacie Starr announces resignation

Stacie Starr says mandated state testing is pushing her away from teaching.

The veteran Elyria Schools educator said Monday she plans to resign at the end of the school year.

Gasps of disbelief followed the announcement made during an education forum aimed at unraveling for parents the intricacies of the standardized testing system. Starr was at the podium, delivering a talk on how special education students are suffering under the new system based on Common Core standards and more rigorous assessments. She said as a veteran intervention specialist at Elyria High School, she could no longer watch silently from within the confines of a structured school day.

Instead, she is leaving education in the traditional sense.

“I am going to teach in a different way,” she proclaimed.

Starr wants to start an after-school mentoring program for at-risk students in hopes of saving them from the school-to-prison pipeline.

Starr garnered a reputation of being a rock star teacher long before “Live with Kelly and Michael” picked her as the winner of the 2014 Top Teacher Search. She has mentored middle school boys, putting books in the hands of at-risk youth and ties on their necks to foster a sense of pride. Handing out high school diplomas to those same students was a highlight of her career, a testament that getting a child to graduation sometimes requires more than just lesson plans and homework.

She has coached football, taken students on field trips to meet authors and adopted a “failure is not an option” approach to some of the hardest-to-reach students. Yet with a stellar 16-year career under her belt, Starr said the new testing culture is killing education.

Okay, so maybe the school board can do something about this. Common Core’s proponents have long guaranteed that their regime is not a threat of any kind to local control, right?


Chief among … (Dawn Neely Randall’s) complaints was the rigor and relevance of the upcoming assessment known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test. To be administered soon, the test is said to be more in line with state Common Core standards and will be a better evaluating tool to determine if students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.

But, as Randall put it during the meeting, planning for the test is virtually impossible, and teachers and students are being forced to spend more time on test preparation.

“It keeps hitting me over the head that this life is too short, but with this testing schedule we are doing nothing for our kids but taking their childhood away with test after test,” she said.

Randall called on board members to advocate for Elyria students and take whatever steps necessary to bring the testing culture to an end.

… Kathryn Karpus, (Elyria School) board president, was the only one to speak after Randall’s speech, which was met with applause from fellow teachers who attended the meeting. She thanked Randall for her passion and concern but offered no indication the board would act.

After the meeting, Karpus said members’ hands are tied. Every concern Randall spoke of is dictated by state legislation, and it will take legislative action for change to come.

“All we can do is speak for students in numbers and hope Columbus listens and acts,” she said.

“Kelly and Michael” absolutely must get Stacie Starr back onto their program and give her a chance to tell America why their Top Teacher feels she must leave.

Hardcore Common Core supporter John Kasich and the all-too-pliant members of Ohio’s Legislature need to wake up, smell the failure, and get Common Core out of Ohio for good — as in for everyone’s good, and forever.

Additionally, the folks in Ohio’s establishment press who have been giving the Common Core crap sandwich an ignorant pass during the past several years need to recognize and tell their readers the truth about this unconscionable, counterproductive, privacy-destroying lunacy before it irretrievably implants itself and permanently ruins K-12 education.

Time is running short.

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 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.

September 2, 2014

Press Release: Conservative Website MediaTrackers.org ‘Defunded’ in blatant attempt to silence Kasich Criticism

Filed under: Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:00 pm

This came into my inbox last week. It deserves the attention of anyone who hasn’t heard or seen the news (typos corrected; bolds are mine):

Conservative Website MediaTrackers.org “Defunded” in blatant attempt to silence Kasich Criticism

Akron, OH – Today, the Ohio Citizens PAC learned that the conservative website MediaTrackers.org was “Defunded” effective immediately and Chief Writer and Editor Jason Hart has moved on to another organization. Sources close to the situation have suggested that large ORP donors, believed to be in the Cinncinnati area, were pressured by Ohio Governor John Kasich to drop their support of the website in retaliation for its critcism of the Governors performance. Mediatrackers.org has been consistent in pointing out the Governor’s increase spending, the cost of the Governors medicaid expansion push, his lack of transparency in the Jobs Ohio program and his efforts to increase taxes on the oil and gas Industry.

Ohio Citizens PAC President, Tom Zawistowski, said “We have seen this before a few years back when Matt Mayer was heading up the Buckeye Institute. Matt was putting out the facts to the public concerning Ohio’s job situation and the Governor did not like it. Next thing we know, Matt is pushed out of the organization with a lack of funding named as one of the reasons. Governor Kasich rules with an iron fist, anyone or anything that dares to stand up to him or question his decision will be destroyed. That is why Kasich is running virturally unopposed this fall, all competition has been eliminated by any means necessary. Citizens can vote for anyone you want this fall, as long as it’s Governor Kasich.”

Zawistowski went on to say, “With the Columbus Distpatch publisher one of the Governor’s biggest campaign donors and few in state media willing to face the wrath of the Governor, the only place that member of the public can find out the truth about what is going on is through TEA Party websites. In June a scandal was discovered when Leutenant Governor Mary Taylor’s staff was caught doing campaign work on state time. Media coverage was almost non-existent even after the “investigation” of the scandal was turned over to Taylor’s former head of security with hardly a word from the media. Despite evidence of this practice being routine in other areas of the Kasich administration. It is no wonder that most Ohioans have been misled to believe that the Governor has cut taxes – despite having increased state spending by 20% or more. Who’s to report anything different?”

Zawistowski concluded by saying “We thank Jason Hart and the other writers who worked for MediaTrackers.org for giving us information that we in the public had a right to know but otherwise would never have known. We can assure the good Governor, that those of us in the TEA Party will pick up the conservative banner and continue to report on things like common core, the threat to personal property rights posed by regionalism and the EPA, illegal immigration in Ohio, and the truth about state spending and jobs.”

Jason Hart’s most recent MediaTrackers Ohio post as of the time of this BizzyBlog post was on August 28.

Based on the email, that’s all there is and there won’t be any more.

Congrats to Jason for landing another spot. Hopefully, he can continue to cover Ohio from his new perch.

August 19, 2014

Ohio’s Dems: Maybe They’re Just Trying to Lose

Filed under: Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:10 pm

The latest exposed escapades involving Ohio’s statewide Democratic Party, uh, ticket:

Democratic Candidate For Ohio AG Repeatedly Ticketed

Democratic attorney general candidate David Pepper has paid nearly $10,000 in parking fines over the past 14 years after being ticketed more than 180 times, according to records reviewed by The Associated Press.

Hamilton County court records show Pepper, who faces Republican incumbent Mike DeWine this fall, was ticketed mostly for parking at meters that had expired or in no-parking or truck loading zones. He also was ticketed about a dozen times for displaying expired plates.

The AP review shows Pepper was cited an average of 13 times a year, most recently in July. The bulk of the tickets came from 2007 to 2009, while he was county commissioner. Fines ranged from $14 to $100, some doubled because they were paid late.

“Amid a hectic schedule, mostly years back, David got too many tickets, and he paid them,” Koltak said. “He’s happy to debate old parking tickets versus Mike DeWine’s current practices as attorney general.”

I dunno, maybe Pepper should argue that he was helpnig the county balance its books.

Congrats to Associated Press reporter Julie Carr Smyth for digging up and exposing this.

Maybe the Democrats can turn around their statewide campaigns by promising not to drive while in office … except who would believe them?

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 7, 2014

WaPo’s Costa: Boehner ‘Swatted Away’ Primary Opposition, Which Got a Possible Record 31% of Vote

Robert Costa’s disdain for Tea Party-sympathetic conservatives was quite evident tonight in his coverage of Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s primary victory at the Washington Post. Costa, a former writer at National Review, even insulted the noble pursuits of justice and the truth regarding Benghazi and the IRS’s targeting of conservative and other groups by calling them “red meat for the tea party faithful.”

The WaPo reporter characterized Boeher as having “swatted away” his opposition without revealing that the Speaker got only 69 percent of the vote. Yes, I wrote “only.” Costa himself noted that “a sitting speaker still has never been defeated in a primary election,” but didn’t disclose Boehner’s percentage of the vote. That’s odd to say the least. I don’t recall a sitting speaker ever losing 31 percent of the vote in a party primary, and it’s possible that it has never happened outside of circumstances involving scandal or crime. I certainly don’t recall a sitting speaker opening his wallet to defend his seat in a primary as Boehner did. Excerpts and analysis follow the jump (bolds are mine):


May 6, 2014

In Epic Fail, ORPINO Wastes Mega-$$$ in Smear Campaign, Fails to Fend Off Tom Brinkman

Filed under: Activism,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:08 pm

Despite spending thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to smear the challenger and defend their incumbent, ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) suffered a major defeat in Southwestern Ohio tonight.

Republican primary voters in the 27th District State Rep race have ousted wishy-washy, Common Core-supporting, go-along get-along incumbent Peter Stautberg in favor of challenger and true conservative Tom Brinkman:


It probably helped Brinkman that the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed … Stautberg.

Intense thanks go to Brinkman supporters whose door-to-door, phone-to-phone and grass-roots campaign trumped ORPINO Chairman Matt Borges’s literature and airwaves war.

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 27, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘‘Facts’ and ‘Lies’ in an Ohio Free-Speech Case’) Is Up

Filed under: Activism,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:26 am

It’s here.

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

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.