Stormy Weather

Flying under the radar this week was the Ohio Governor’s speech on the floor of the Ohio House 12-6-16. According to Cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer (John Kasich warns Ohio ‘on the verge of a recession’ 12-7-16) the former presidential wannabe “warned lawmakers Tuesday that Ohio is “on the verge of a recession” as state tax revenues continue to fall short of expectations.” “So far this year, the state has collected $259 million, or 2.8 percent, less in taxes than expected, according to preliminary data released by the Office of Management and Budget. In particular, state income is $153 million less than projected for the year and sales tax revenue is $109 million less.” Jeremy Pelzer prognosticates pithily: “In the past, Kasich has talked about the so-called “Ohio miracle,” touting the state’s economic resurgence along with tax cuts and building up a “rainy-day fund” of more than $2 billion – several times the projected shortfall this year – to draw upon during tough economic times. The governor has helped stock the rainy-day fund by slashing state funding for local governments across Ohio, forcing many cities and towns to raise taxes or cut services.” Analysis gleans that Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb’s poker face is beginning to show (see previous posts). But not showing this week was the news of JobsOhio Picks Up the $17M Cost for Prepping OH Cracker Site (Marcellus Drilling News 12-7-16). From that article (in the industry’s own words): “Clearing the site, which once hosted the R.E. Burger coal-fired power plant, was no small task. The power plant site, owned and (until 2011) operated by FirstEnergy cost $14 million for demolition, remediation and general cleaning up. An adjacent site (not owned by FirstEnergy) cost another $3 million to tidy up. All told it took $17 million to clean up the site and get it ready to begin construction. FirstEnergy is reported to have said they were “excited” by the opportunity to spend $14 million to clean it up. Wait, what? They wanted to spend the money? Well actually, no, they didn’t. FirstEnergy spent the money to clean up the site because they have been/are being reimbursed for the cost by JobsOhio” “What is JobsOhio and where does it get all this money? Glad you asked! JobsOhio is a private, non-profit with a board appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, which gets most of its operating revenue from taxes on liquor sales in Ohio. So raise a glass to the cracker, Ohioans. Your imbibing is helping to build it…” Back to Pelzer: “”There’s not going to be a lot of growth in any [state] program,” Kasich told reporters at the time. “It’s going to be tight. There’s not going to be an ability to give significant percentage increases.”” Gee Toto, I don’t think we’re in Oz anymore, just back in Kansas.

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