Special Elections Expose Kasich’s Shell Game

For Immediate Release: August 7, 2012
Contact: Dale Butland, 614-783-5833

Special Elections Expose Kasich Shell Game

State Cuts Lead To 55 Local Tax Levies All Across Ohio

Columbus — Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, says that today’s special elections — in 39 of Ohio’s 88 counties — are “proof positive of the Kasich administration’s cynical shell game: cut money for schools and local governments at the state level and shift the burden to local taxpayers instead.”

Of the 60 issues being decided today, 55 involve local taxes. 34 of the 55 are for schools. The other 21 are for police and/or fire, emergency medical services, road repair and local government operations. An eye-popping 71% are new funding requests.

For over a year, Innovation Ohio has repeatedly warned of the scenario unfolding today.

“While vowing in his State of the State speech not to raise taxes, the Governor merely proposes to shift the burden from the state to local communities which, in turn, will be forced to raise taxes simply to maintain the levels of police, fire and other services they currently have.”
March 15, 2011 IO News Release

“At a time when Gov. Kasich is proposing to cut the Local Government Fund by 50%, Ohio’s cities, towns and municipalities simply can’t afford another major hit to their revenue. If the estate tax is killed, many will have no alternative but to raise local taxes.”
June 9, 2011 IO News Release

“School cuts, and especially cuts to local government funds which are used to pay for police, fire and emergency response, will require communities either to hike taxes or make do with fewer educational and protective services.”
June 30, 2011 IO News Release

Said Innovation Ohio President Janetta King:

“Today, Governor Kasich’s chickens are coming home to roost. Even wealthy communities like Cleveland’s Shaker Heights are having to ask local taxpayers to approve a 0.5% levy.

As Mayor Earl Leiken has pointed out, the state budget and repeal of the estate tax has cost Shaker $6 million. In response, the city has done everything Governor Kasich said local communities should do: they’ve renegotiated labor agreements, frozen wages, tripled employee contributions for health insurance, outsourced and consolidated services, and cut 58 positions, including 10 police officers and 14 firefighters. Any further reductions would, in the Mayor’s words, “severely impact public services and the quality of our life.” (Read his letter here).

“Sadly, the Shaker story is not unique. It’s the same in city after city and community after community. Today, 55 local levies are on the ballot. There will be more in November, and who knows how many others in the months to come. Still, Governor Kasich and his legislative allies refuse to budge. They won’t restore any of the money they cut, and they won’t ask the wealthiest Ohioans to share in the sacrifice. But Ohioans aren’t stupid. They know a shell game when they see one. They know we can’t cut our way to prosperity. They know we shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of the middle class. And sooner or later, they will hold Governor Kasich accountable. “