As Governor Kasich continues to insist that he and his allies have engineered an ‘Ohio comeback,” there are four facts all Ohioans need to know.
Fact # 1: Ohio lags the rest of America in job creation. Governor Kasich often boasts that Ohio has more jobs now than when Governor Strickland was in office. But since virtually every state has more jobs now than it did during the nation’s “Great Recession”, the real question is how Ohio compares to the rest of the country. Ohio not only ranks 41st among all the states in job creation, but has lagged the national average for 20 straight months. And, unlike the rest of America – which has recovered all the jobs lost during the recession and then some, Ohio is still roughly 140,000 jobs short of where we were in 2007 before the national downturn began.
Fact # 2: Virtually all the jobs created under Kasich have been low-wage. Although Kasich promised that his privatized development agency, JobsOhio, would move “at the speed of business” to create good-paying jobs in the economy of tomorrow, virtually none of the jobs created during his administration pay enough to support a family. An August 20 analysis by Innovation Ohio found that Ohio’s economy now has more people working in low-paying jobs than in occupations that pay medium or high wages. And an August 31 study by the Cleveland-based think tank Policy Matters-Ohio found that in 2013, Ohio’s median wage was just $15.81 per hour, 90 cents below the national median wage.
Fact # 3: Under Kasich, median income has fallen by $9,000 per household. An August Associated Press analysis found that Ohio’s real (adjusted for inflation) median household income fell from $54,000 in 2007 to $45,000 in 2012 – a far steeper drop than for the nation as a whole. The AP study also found that nearly 50% of Ohio households are now living paycheck-to-paycheck, and 16% of Ohioans have fallen into poverty.
Fact # 4: The benefits from Kasich’s income tax cuts have overwhelmingly gone to the wealthy. Under the three income tax cuts that have taken effect since Kasich assumed office (including the “final installment” of the 2005 income tax cut that Strickland postponed during the Great Recession), the richest 1% has, on average, enjoyed an annual tax cut of $10,000. Middle-income Ohioans have received less than $100, and the poorest Ohioans have seen a slight tax increase, thanks to the higher sales and property taxes enacted under Gov. Kasich. This does not include the lower inheritance taxes now paid by the wealthy due to Kasich’s repeal of Ohio’s estate tax. The estate tax applied to only the richest 7% of Ohioans.
For most Ohioans, Governor Kasich’s so-called ‘Ohio Miracle’ has been a mirage. We’re creating fewer jobs than most other states, the ones we’re creating don’t pay a living wage, and the Governor’s income tax cuts have only served to exacerbate the growing gap between the rich and the rest. Surely our state can do better.
Taken from a September 3, 2014 Cincinnati Enquirer opinion piece written by IO Communications Director Dale Butland.