Democrat Plan For Budget Disaster

Why do something now when you can put it off until later?

In addition to this being my preferred way of studying in college it’s also the style of governing that House Democrats proposed yesterday.

Jim Siegel outlined their plan in an article in yesterday’s Dispatch.  Basically, the plan is to spend $400 million on schools and local communities through surplus tax revenue, rainy day funds and via the Governor’s income tax proposal.

Sound familiar?

This governing style is exactly what Ted Strickland did it for 4 years and was a total disaster.  Kicking the can down the road is exactly what got us into the $8 billion deficit mess that Governor Kasich was dealt when he took office.

How can someone, with a straight face, actually say that this type of funding works?  Obviously it addresses issues in the short term, but it is devastating in the long-term. 


The ridiculous part is the same people who propose this type of irresponsible spending  have Governor Kasich to thank for giving them an opportunity to make their proposal in the first place.  For years House Democrats and Governor Strickland applied little patches to budget holes instead of actually fixing them.  When Governor Kasich took office he was forced to deal with their irresponsible patches and was promptly attacked for it.

Instead of kicking the can down the road how about a long-term solution?  I know it’s crazy, but instead of letting our kids deal with our excess spending maybe it’s time to make tough decisions and leave this state a little better than how we found it.  It doesn’t always register with some people, but spending more isn’t always the answer.  Furthermore, more money doesn’t always mean higher quality.

Republicans tried, through government union reform, to make big decisions and get us out of the hole.  While plenty disagreed with the unsuccessful attempt at reform, it’s hard to say that things are fine and that the status quo should remain. 

Maybe, instead of coming up with shortsighted plans, it’s time for those who disagreed last November to step up with real long-term ideas.  These should be ideas that fix, not patch, and don’t include needless spending.

With their proposal, House Democrats are saying that Ohio should go back to the old way of doing business.

It didn’t work last time and won’t work now.

Strickland 1, Cordray 0

The hits keep coming for Team Cordray.

If there was an award for worst week in Ohio politics it would have to go to Team Cordray for the debacle that was Wednesday night’s attempt to remove Chris Redfern as state party chair.

As I discussed Thursday, the real story behind the attempted ousting of Redfern is the battle between the Cordray and Strickland camps of the party.  Both want to run for Governor in 2014 and having a supporter as state party chairman gives them a real advantage entering a primary.  It was no surprise that Redfern easily kept his position but, just as I predicted Thursday, the real problems are just starting.

A Buzzfeed article from Friday titled “Ohio Democrats Blame Top Obama Official For Party Battle,” is probably not a headline that Team Cordray wanted coming out of their attempt to oust Redfern.

The article highlights Democrats deep dissatisfaction with Cordray’s tactics and their irritation that he’s putting himself above the interests of the party.  Despite protests to the contrary from his top political aide, it’s hard to believe that Cordray wasn’t somehow in the know on what was happening on Wednesday night. 


What’s even worse is that some of the Democrat county chairman approached by Team Cordray are talking on the record.  Chairmen in Mahoning, Hamilton and Montgomery Counties all expressed disapproval with Cordray’s tactics when they spoke with Buzzfeed.

David Betras from Mahoning County has my favorite quote; “Anyone that would spearhead this and get the ass kicking that they took doesn’t know much about politics.”  Ouch.  That might make for an uncomfortable meeting when Cordray comes to Mahoning County during the primary.

At the end of the day the coup attempt by Cordray supporters was much ado about nothing.  They clearly didn’t come close to accomplishing anything other than making themselves look bad in the eyes of the voters whose support they will soon need. 

So in addition to being illegally appointed to his position and greatly expanding the power of his office, Richard Cordray is burning bridges with Democrats throughout Ohio. 

If Team Cordray keeps this up I think it’s only fair for the Strickland folks to send him a thank you card for ending the 2014 primary before it even starts.

  

Trouble in Union Paradise for Ohio Democrats?

Joe Vardon from the Dispatch had a good article yesterday morning detailing the infighting between two competing wings of the ODP.

Clearly I am not an expert on the inner workings of the ODP.  However, it doesn’t take an expert to see potential problems down the road for Ohio Democrats.

Make no mistake; this is a fight between the Cordray and Strickland camps for the future direction of the party.  It’s no secret that Redfern is a supporter of Ted Strickland and the former governor clearly prefers to have a loyalist in such an important position.   Keeping him as chairman puts Ted in a nice spot for a potential rematch with Governor Kasich. 

To be honest, I think Strickland’s plan is a very good one.  The problem is that some folks don’t appreciate their state chairman picking a candidate long before the process even starts. 

Team Cordray falls into this category and although it seems as if Cordray himself has steered clear, the anti-Redfern effort is being led by one of his closest former aides.  Cordray is also interested in a race against Governor Kasich but having a Strickland loyalist pulling the strings at the state party puts him at a disadvantage right out of the gate.

The real question is what happens if Team Cordray loses and takes the union money with them?

How does the ODP continue to fundraise when the very folks that help fund the party work against the sitting chairman?  Assuming Chris Redfern keeps his position, one would think he is going to have a tough time getting checks from the folks that openly question his leadership and abilities.  If nothing else it makes for an awkward fundraising call from Redfern to the UAW after the election.

The interesting thing about the ODP fight is that unlike the Republican Party, the real problems for the ODP could start afterthe election.

I doubt anybody really thinks that the Cordray people will just pack up and leave quietly should they lose tonight.  Issues like this aren’t forgotten by loyalists on both sides, they are almost certain to come up again when the primary comes around.  The same holds true for Chris Redfern if he comes up short.

I also don’t think the unions that generously give to the ODP will forget about this mess, regardless of who wins tonight.  Are supporters of Cordray really going to give money to an operation that is going to push for a Strickland-Kasich rematch?  Seems like a waste of money to me. 

The point is that it doesn’t matter who wins.  One side is going to lose and the repercussions could negatively impact the ODP’s ability to compete both this year and in 2014.

EPA Finds That Hydraulic Fracturing Does Not Cause Pollution

If you read some of Ohio’s political blogs you’ve noticed the left constantly preaching that fracking is going to contaminate the water.

Except now we know one very important fact.

They are wrong.

According to an article from yesterday’s International Business Times, hydraulic fracturing was proven to not pollute drinking water in nearby wells.

The tests focused on a number of wells in Dimrock, Pennsylvania.  The residents of this town have been complaining that hydraulic fracturing happening nearby tainted their drinking wells.  After the EPA tests, the water was deemed to “not show levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take immediate action.”    

These results confirmed previous testing by Cabot Oil and Gas and the state of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection.
This news is bound to break some hearts in the anti-fracking community and I have no doubt that their reaction will be to denounce the EPA study and call for more studies. 

The problem for the anti-fracking folks is that these recent findings confirm a previous EPA study from March that showed no pollution in local wells as a result of hydraulic fracturing.  How many more tests have to be done (at taxpayer expense) before the anti-fracking community accepts the findings?

Obviously this drilling practice should be done carefully with full regard to environmental laws and regulations.  However, the fact remains that the EPA did two studies on these wells and found nothing.  Is there any reason to think the outcome will change if they keep testing in different locations?

The finding from the EPA is great news to those in Ohio who support the expansion of hydraulic fracturing.  This is sure to benefit Ohio as the interest in our energy resources continues to produce new jobs for Ohioans.

Governor Kasich’s proposed tax plan allows Ohioans to benefit even more through a $500 million income tax cut.  Hopefully the General Assembly joins the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and supports this reasonable proposal.

Ohio Leads, Rest Of Nation Follows

Great news Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio lead the nation in job growth in February.

According to the preliminary numbers from BLS, Ohio added 28,300 jobs in February, closely beating out Texas and New York and blowing everyone else out of the water.

This was highlighted with the kind of front-page story in Saturday’s Dispatch that Ted Strickland never received in his four years.



This is fantastic news for all Ohioans and our improving economy.  It’s also further proof that Governor Kasich’s Jobs Budget and constant focus on job creation continues to make a difference.

This report follows great news from January and shows that Ohio’s economy is on the mend.  Our unemployment rate started coming down soon after Governor Kasich’s Jobs Budget was passed and continues to drop at a faster pace than the national average.

I’m not saying there isn’t quite a bit of work to be done, pulling Ohio out of the abyss won’t happen overnight.  However, numbers don’t lie and we are clearly on the right path to recovery.


With Friday’s news, and Kasich’s constant focus on job creation, Ohioans should be proud of the direction we are heading and optimistic about our future.

State Employees Put Taxpayers On The Hook for $96 Millon

The Dayton Daily News has an article today about a perk that allows state employees to cash out unused vacation and sick time. 

The cost to taxpayers: $96 million.

This type of perk is relatively unusual for private employers.  The article cited a study that said only 16% of private employers allow employees to be paid for unused vacation time and even fewer (6%) allow employees to be paid for unused sick time. 

Why do most private employers avoid these types of perks?  They do it because a business model like this is typically completely unsustainable.  Most private employers can’t afford perks like this, and neither can state government. 

To be completely fair, I really can’t blame these people for cashing in.  Who wouldn’t take advantage of a loophole that allows you to bilk the system?

The key quote to this article is, of course, at the very end:

Senate Bill 5 would have limited unused leave payouts for public employees, as well as make it illegal for public employees to strike. But voters rejected the bill, voting in November to repeal it. Republicans are not eager to resurrect any individual portions of SB 5, state legislators have said.
Senate Bill 5 was clearly designed with abuses like this in mind.  Republican legislators tried to address these problems and voters said no.  Now we are left to pay the consequences of that decision.

I hate to say I told you so but…


Conservative Support for Governor Kasich’s Tax Cut

In a previous postI discussed Governor Kasich’s plan to cut income taxes and why conservatives should view this is a win.


Need more evidence?  Today the Buckeye Institute, Ohio’s pre-eminent conservative free market think tank, posted an article on their site praising the Governor’s tax plan.


The highlight of this article;


…Kasich appears to be proposing a system that holds harmless, or actually lowers taxes, both small energy producers and small businesses while broadening the tax base for larger companies, helping local communities and taking steps toward lowering the income tax.  If these details hold true, this is a proposal that deserves serious consideration.  (emphasis added)


The Buckeye Institute recognizes the importance of lowering the tax burden on all Ohioans.  They acknowledge that Kasich’s plan is doing something “really important” by lowering your taxes and they encourage “serious consideration” of this measure.


Conservative legislators would be smart to get on board and back Kasich’s plan.  This is an opportunity to do the right thing by lowering taxes on their constituents and prove that they aren’t in the pockets of big oil lobbyists.


All conservatives should be proud of Governor Kasich’s efforts to return over $1 billion to the taxpayers who should be the ones deciding where and how their money is being spent.


Ultimately this is a win for Ohio taxpayers, a win for conservatives and one more step in the right direction for our recovering economy.

Governor Kasich Wants To Cut Your Taxes

Reggie Fields’ article in Sunday’s Plain Dealer highlights Governor Kasich’s plan to cut Ohioans personal income tax.   The highlight of this plan is a $1 billion tax cut by 2016 for all Ohioans fueled entirely by economic growth.

For conservatives this is a win.  It’s a revenue neutral tax that is offset by a reduction in personal income tax for Ohioans.  Even with this plan in place Ohio will stillhave a lower rate than Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota and Texas.

Also, Americans for Tax Reform has signed off.  They’ve acknowledged that a plan like the one being discussed is still consistent with Governor Kasich’s pledge to not raise taxes because it’s revenue neutral.

Not surprisingly, Democrats are already discounting the amount as inconsequential to the average Ohioan and want to increase the taxes on severance.  They forget that $1 billion is going back into the pockets of Ohioans who will then spend it, for the most part, in Ohio.  I’m pretty sure that people spending an extra $1 billion in Ohio’s economy could probably be classified as a good thing.

It’s also not surprising that Democrats are asking for a much higher tax.  Dale Butland from Innovation Ohio wants to see higher taxes because; “It’s completely implausible that these companies are going to leave billions of dollars in profits on the table if they are asked to pay the same tax rates that they already pay in Texas.”

The glaring problem with Butland’s statement is that there isn’t an income tax in Texas that employees have to pay.  Comparing the two, once you factor in all the facts, is pretty ridiculous.

At the end of the day you should be the one deciding where and how your money is spent, not the state.  A $1 billion tax cut for Ohio is exactly what we need to keep our economy moving in the right direction.

Governor’s Poll Numbers Keep Improving

Two big things to take away from today’s Ohio Poll

 1.  Kasich’s numbers are moving up, more approve than disapprove of his     

      performance.   

 2.  Obama would love to be in the position that Kasich is in.

Overall;

The big news that will surprise and disappoint the Ohio liberals?  Kasich isn’t underwater — 44% approve of his job performance versus 42% (+2) who disapprove.  Clearly his numbers are moving in the right direction and the Governor is quickly bouncing back after last November.

Things are not as good for Team Obama.  He remains underwater with a 49% disapproval rating compared to 47% who approve.  

Independents

Independent voters are with Kasich by a +7 margin.  This is huge, especially considering the fact that Democrats were writing Kasich’s political obituary just 4 months ago.  

What’s good news for Kasich isn’t that great for Obama.  The same independents that favor Kasich by a +7 margin aren’t big fans of the President. 52% of them disapprove of Obama’s job performance compared to the 42% who approve (-10). Or, a 17 point swing from Kasich. This number alone is going to cause some anxiety in Chicago.


Crosstabs

When you look at age groups of those polled, you’ll see that Kasich’s numbers are positive in each.  President Obama?  He is underwater in 3 out of 4.

Kasich also has positive numbers everywhere in Ohio except the Democrat stronghold in NE Ohio.  Obama is underwater everywhere but Central and NE Ohio.

College graduates (aka, those most likely to vote) approve of Governor Kasich’s job performance by a +8 margin with 51% approving and 43% disapproving. President Obama is underwater by a -7 margin (53% vs. 46%) with the same demographic.
Economy

Despite the clear improvement in Ohio’s economy, there’s still work to be done on people’s perceptions.

That being said, Kasich’s numbers have seen a +8 improvement from last March and are now just at -3.  Add in today’s great economic news and I think we will continue to see this upward trend.

President Obama’s numbers here don’t have the same level of support; he is still 10 points underwater.  The real painful number here is the whopping 58% of independent voters who disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, compared to just 34% who approve.

These numbers make it pretty clear that Ohio voters are crediting Governor Kasich with our recent turnaround, not President Obama.

Summary

This poll has to make any Democrat pondering a run in ’14 a little nervous.  

Just four months ago, they were chomping at the bit for a chance to challenge the Governor and reportedly fighting amongst themselves over who would run.  



Fast forward to today and Governor Kasich’s numbers are already bouncing back, far outpacing Obama in Ohio, and receiving FAR more support from independent voters than the President. Add 2 more years and continued job growth to this equation and Governor Kasich is going to be in a solid position.

Factor all of this together, along with the power of incumbency, and you must wonder whether potential challengers will decide it’s simply not worth taking the risk.

The Jobs Budget Is Working

Huge news this morning for Ohioans.

According to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% in December to 7.7% last month.  Our unemployment rate is now well below the national average and moving in the right direction.
The kicker, Ohio added an astounding 32,800 jobs in January.
Ohio’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in January, down from a revised 7.9 percent in December and the lowest rate since November 2008, according to state figures out this morning that also show the state’s employers added a whopping 32,800 jobs in January.
The drop in the rate and the gain in jobs are fresh signs that the state’s economy is continuing to pull out of the recession. (emphasis added)
The numbers tell the story. Until August of 2011, Ohio’s unemployment rate was basically the same as the national rate.  Since then, we have seen a steady and significant decline in our unemployment rate even as the national average declined by lower margins. 
August also happens to be the month immediately after Governor Kasich’s Jobs Budget was passed.  With his leadership, Ohio’s reputation as an anti-business state is becoming a thing of the past.  Governor Kasich’s number one priority has been jobs and it’s hard to argue that we aren’t seeing real results from his efforts to open up Ohio for business.

I’m not saying that there isn’t still work to be done, but you can’t argue with success.