State Of The State

The governor gave his inaugural (recently re elected) State of the State address from Wilmington Ohio. One of the unneeded and redundant ads from the re election featured a former DHL employee touting how John Kasich turned Wilmington around and got him a job. Speaking from Wilmington only reinforced the central message of success that the address resonated. Darrel Rowland of the Dispatch wrote a provocative piece entitled “What Kasich DIDN’T say in his State of the State address…” (2-25-15). Two items: “The full story on the state’s rainy-day fund. A similar line is in almost every Kasich speech: the state’s budget stabilization fund has gone from 89 cents when he took office to $1.5 billion – and now he wants to increase it to about $1.9 billion. All that’s true as far as it goes, but what’s left unsaid is that the rainy-day fund drained during the depths of Ohio’s recession had rebounded to $247 million by the time Kasich’s first budget was implemented on July 1, 2011. The actual increase in funding provided by the state to Ohio schools. He talked about the combined increase in the current state budget and his proposed two-year plan. “Now we’re going to stick $700 million more into K through 12 education. I checked on this…$1.7 billion investment over these four years, the largest investment in education in the history of the state of Ohio, because we consider education and K through 12 education to be a top priority, and I hope you agree with that.” Actually, the $700 million proposed in this two-year budget is just $459 million once you subtract out the cut to the tangible personal property tax reimbursement. Kasich tries to distinguish between the reimbursement and the actual state operating money for schools, but to districts, it’s all about the size of the state check every month. They don’t care which pot of money is going up or down.” Analysis adds that the governor also left out what any of the new jobs “created” are actually paying. Writing for the AP (STATE OF THE STATE Kasich: Tax cuts, innovation can propel successes 2-25-15) Julie Carr Smyth and Ann Sanner report “Kasich said high taxes discourage risk-taking and the cuts are needed to encourage growth, particularly among small businesses, which he called the nimble “fighter jets” of Ohio’s economy. He proposes another $500 million in cuts and a 23 percent reduction in the state’s income tax as part of the budget proposal moving through the Republican- led Legislature.” In an online piece entitled “Tea Party’s Disastrous Tax Cut Experiment Comes To Ohio” (2-12-15), Alan Pyke reports “Kasich describes his $696 million tax cut as a helping hand to small businesses. But the design of the cut would put the bulk of that benefit into the hands of just a few high-income business entities with a handful of employees while providing just a few hundred dollars each to the vast majority of the people who would benefit, according to an analysis by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. For nine out of every 10 companies that would benefit from the Kasich cut, the total yearly savings would be $364 or even less. For the remaining 10 percent of companies affected, savings could be as high as $8,000 a year, a number that Kasich administration officials acknowledge is far too low to create even a single job per company. Instead of pitching the cut as a direct job creator, the officials are marketing it as an “every little bit helps” move for hardworking entrepreneurs.” A little further on he adds: “Three-quarters of all tax entities organized as “small businesses” employ no one other than the owner. Just 11 percent of all taxpayers who report business income are small business owners with actual employees.” According to Pyke this follows the ALEC playbook already being played out by Scott Walker in Wis. And Sam Brownback in Kans. In a different online piece entitled “This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage — Now, His State’s Economy Is One of the Best in the Country” (2-25-15) Carl Gibson reports on Minnesota’s governor Mark Dayton (also in his second term). “Between 2011 and 2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to Minnesota’s economy — that’s 165,800 more jobs in Dayton’s first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined. Even though Minnesota’s top income tax rate is the 4th-highest in the country, it has the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent. According to 2012-2013 U.S. census figures, Minnesotans had a median income that was $10,000 larger than the U.S. average, and their median income is still $8,000 more than the U.S. average today. By late 2013, Minnesota’s private sector job growth exceeded pre-recession levels, and the state’s economy was the 5th fastest-growing in the United States. Forbes even ranked Minnesota the 9th-best state for business (Scott Walker’s “Open For Business” Wisconsin came in at a distant #32 on the same list). Despite the fear mongering over businesses fleeing from Dayton’s tax cuts, 6,230 more Minnesotans filed in the top income tax bracket in 2013, just one year after Dayton’s tax increases went through. As of January 2015, Minnesota has a $1 billion budget surplus, and Gov. Dayton has pledged to reinvest more than one third of that money into public schools. And according to Gallup, Minnesota’s economic confidence is higher than any other state.”

An elderly Newark resident once recounted how as a child, during the “great’ depression, her school teacher father regularly took the family to the river for an afternoon of fishing. She always thought of it as a kind of picnic event though, looking back, she realized this was one of the ways her parents could provide food during very hard times. 2-13-15 Dispatch (Ohio Auditor Dave Yost suggests raising hunting, fishing fees) Catherine Candisky writes “Ohio Auditor Dave Yost recommended yesterday that the state charge more for fishing and hunting permits and increase the rates for overnight stays in campgrounds and cabins.” Today (2-26-15) the AP reports of ODNR plans underway to charge people for digging ginseng.

““We’re on the move. We’re rising. We’re creating jobs. People are more hopeful,” Kasich said toward the end of the 75minute talk. “And you know what’s really great? No one’s being left out. No one.” (Carr Smyth and Sanner)

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