A deal struck by Gov. John Kasich (R) could cost Ohio taxpayers as much as $15 million over the next year, according to the terms of a state contract with a Los Angeles-based consulting firm that is advising Kasich on his policies regarding the state’s casinos.
Despite forcing widespread cuts on various state programs — including education and children’s health programs — Kasich entered into the agreement with Moelis & Co. in order to help the state “maximize its gaming revenues,” the Columbus Dispatch reports:
Moelis, which along with Spectrum Gaming was hired to advise Kasich on casinos and other gambling-related issues in Ohio, will be paid a monthly retainer fee of $200,000 over the year-long contract. Additionally, the Los Angeles-based company can earn up to $13 million in incentives fees.
According to the contract, which was provided to The Dispatch by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Moelis is owed 3.25 percent of the state’s added estimated revenue from gaming – capped at $13 million.
Kasich’s spending on casinos comes while he continues to preach fiscal austerity and shared sacrifice to Ohioans. Kasich’s budgetary moves have included deep cuts to education and children’s health programs, a union-busting bill that ended collective bargaining for public workers (including teachers, firefighters and police officers), and privatization efforts that, among other things, would leave prison guard towers unoccupied.
Unfortunately, it seems Kasich’s dubious decisions with taxpayer dollars is becoming a trend. Despite the “shared sacrifice” rhetoric, Kasich used the state-owned airplane more in his first three months in office than his predecessor — Ted Strickland (D) — did in 13 months. He’s also paying his staff more than Strickland paid his, and exempted his own office from much of the pain felt by the state’s austerity measures.
Instead of spending money on vital programs like education and children’s health, Kasich has apparently decided to pin his economic hopes to booze and gambling.