Will Kasich’s budget continue to undermine his “Ohio Miracle”?
Speculation is swirling in the hours leading up to Governor Kasich’s introduction of the state’s FY18-19 budget. That’s because budgets are important—they set funding and policy priorities for the next two years that have significant impacts on real people and on the state as a whole.
While Gov. Kasich used to tout an “Ohio Miracle,” last month he declared “we’re on the verge of a recession in our state.”
Kasich is right—six years into his administration, Ohio is lagging and our rankings are sinking. So how did we botch the “Ohio Miracle” he promised us? The answer lies in past budget decisions:
Stalled growth in our cities: Kasich’s budgets have eliminated essential funding to Ohio’s cities by over $1 billion. This is at the same time cities are fighting on the front lines of Ohio’s opioid addiction crisis. We all know that weaker cities mean a weaker state economy. To reverse course, Kasich must stop undermining our cities, further prolonging Ohio’s recovery.
Cut education funding and oversaw a decline in Ohio’s education quality: Governor Kasich’s first budget cut $1.8 billion from K-12 education, and after six years of Kasich budgets, Ohio’s local property taxpayers were forced to pay more for education now than they ever have. Unsurprisingly, at the same time the state share of education funding declines and more state money is invested in failing charter schools, Ohio’s national education ranking has dropped to new lows. When Kasich took office, Ohio was rated 5th in the nation for quality by Education Week. Today, Ohio ranks 22nd. Kasich can prioritize our children’s education or continue to pass the buck, further tanking our quality of education and our national rankings.
Shifted the tax burden to poorer Ohioans: Kasich has recently said he would like to continue to lower the income tax and pay for it by raising the sales tax. While we don’t know the details yet, he has done this before and as a result less well-off Ohioans are paying more of their paychecks in taxes while the wealthiest are paying less. This undermines economic growth and job creation.
Kasich’s final budget is his opportunity to either get us back on track and rescue us from his self-inflicted “recession” or double-double down on what has contributed to the botching of the Ohio miracle. Ohioans are still looking for the miracle.