John Kasich, the “former state senator, congressman, Fox News talk show host, and financial firm manager” running on the Republican gubernatorial ticket in Ohio, has taken to calling the Ohio budget a “disaster,” and talking up his past experiences as giving him the insight to turn the state around. “How did we get here? Sloppy, no knowledge, tired, worn out, no ideas. Politics as usual. What do you do? You take a businesslike attitude. You have to serve the customer,” Kasich has said.
Kasich’s plan to reinvigorate the state includes completely eliminating both its income tax and its estate tax. But when asked how much his tax plan would cost the state in terms of revenue loss, Kasich admits that he has absolutely no idea, as the Toledo Blade reported:
Ask specifics about how and when he’d follow through with his plan and where he’d reduce state spending to offset the potential loss of revenue, and the path becomes less clear. “All the specifics on this are all being constantly worked,” he told The Blade in a recent interview in his downtown Columbus campaign headquarters. “I will lay out a program whenever I feel I’m satisfied with the program, when we understand the revenue, when we’ve worked this effectively,” he said.
Kasich was even more forthcoming about his cluelessness when it comes to the budget two weeks ago, saying “people want to know the details of my plan. I don’t have the revenues.”
It’s odd that Kasich can’t seem to find the numbers for this, as the Ohio Department of Taxation has some exceedingly easy-to-access tables detailing just how much of a hole Kasich is proposing blowing in the budget. Eliminating the state income tax — which brings in nearly half of the state’s revenue — would cost about $8.3 billion next year alone. Eliminating the estate tax would cost another $288.5 million (and 80 percent of estate tax revenue already gets redistributed to state and local governments).
Kasich “flatly rules out tax increases and that, in his mind, includes any effort to broaden the tax base or close loopholes.” And his campaign’s plan for cutting the budget is remarkably short on details, not identifying one single program that Kasich thinks needs to be trimmed.
Ohio’s already facing an $8 billion deficit next year, and Kasich’s tax proposals would more than double that, with no clear path towards spending cuts or tax increases that could come close to making up the difference. It’s the height of fiscal irresponsibility.