This week Governor Kasich unveiled his two-year, $130 billion budget. And there are some things you should know about!
First, it is worth noting that Governor Kasich inherited quite a mess from former Governor Ted Strickland. Governor Kasich has made some great strides along with his friends in the Ohio House. These accomplishments include reinstituting a tax cut in 2012 and 2013 and patching an enormous, nearly-$8 billion hole in the budget.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment to date was the elimination of Ohio’s Death Tax, thanks in a large part to so many of you.
But even during those times, Ohio’s budget and spending grew – and now it’s about to grow even more.
In this budget, Governor Kasich has recognized something AFP-OH and economists have been saying for too long: Ohio taxes too much. Governor Kasich has introduced some necessary cuts to income taxes and we applaud him for it.
However, this budget still spends too much of our money, growing by more than 10.5% in its first year of general fund spending. Unfortunately, that’s not the half of it.
Governor Kasich has proposed that Ohio expand Medicaid. Yes, he’s suggested we expand a system that is full of abuse and fraud, doesn’t address the patient-centered reforms necessary to fix healthcare, and will cost taxpayers an additional several billion dollars. This move comes right out of the Washington, D.C. playbook and is cause for great consternation. We have grave concerns about the cost and policy precedent of this decision – and so should you.
Further, we are concerned about the Governor’s proposal to take more in taxes from those farmers and land owners in Ohio who have natural gas and oil under their ground. Ohio residents, especially those along the eastern border of our State, are on the verge of a major energy boom – if we don’t stifle it with punitive tax hikes. We believe the state shouldn’t tax wealth creation just because it can and that the government should not be in the business of picking winners or losers in this or any other industry. There is plenty of room to lower taxes by reducing government spending.
As we stated earlier, Governor Kasich has done some great things to advance economic prosperity in our state – and certainly reducing Ohio’s income tax falls in that category. Just like you, AFP-OH cares about making Ohio the best it can be through limited government. We will applaud good policy decisions and call out those that aren’t.
In the days ahead we will get more clarity on this budget. Hearings will be held in the House and Senate and there will be opportunities for you to weigh in and tell your legislators what you think. AND WE WILL NEED YOU TO DO SO.
Remember two years ago when you reminded legislators that they had made a promise to end the estate tax and you intended to hold them to it? We will need you to be prepared once again to hold our elected officials accountable to us. We will need to you remind the Governor and the State Legislature that they made a promise to make Ohio more efficient – NOT spend and tax more.
The time to take a stand for limited government doesn’t take a recess unlike the government. We must remain vigilant. But we can all agree that some times are just more important than others – and this is one of those important times.