Governor John Kasich often speaks of an “Ohio Miracle.” He claims that his policies have cut taxes without depriving Ohio of strong schools and safe communities.
Gov. Kasich inherited a recovery that began a year before he took office. In that year, Ohio’s unemployment rate fell by a full point and a half, from 10.6% to 9%. Since then, Ohio’s recovery has slowed as regressive policies have taken effect. On the governor’s first day in office, Ohio ranked twenty-ninth in annual job growth. Today, we’re forty-sixth in the nation in job growth, and a greater percentage of Ohioans have given up looking for work than at any point in the past thirty years. The state is not headed in the right direction.
As Ohio falls behind, there’s one group of Ohioans whose interests are taken care of by this governor: the wealthy and well-connected. The governor has gone to great pains to call his new budget a tax cut for everyone, but the devil is in the details. While the wealthiest Ohioans will receive a $6,000 handout under the governor’s tax plan, middle-class people earning about $50,000 a year will see about $9.
In order to pay for this tax shift that disproportionately favors the rich, someone else has to pay more: middle-class families and seniors. For the first time in a decade, Ohio’s sales tax has been raised, forcing every Ohioan to pay more on the purchases they make every day.
By November, all new property tax levies passed at the local level will cost taxpayers 12.5% more, amounting to hundreds of dollars a year in new costs and ending a forty-year practice of helping Ohioans pay their property taxes. Meanwhile, seniors on fixed incomes are on the hook, since Gov. Kasich’s budget eliminates the homestead exemption on property taxes for Ohioans over the age of sixty-five who make more than $30,000 a year.
Under this governor, Ohioans also getting less, particularly when it comes to education and public safety. Over a quarter of Ohio school districts stand to receive less state funding than they did during the last school year. The governor has also slashed the Local Government Fund in half, eliminating support for fire, police, and basic public safety services at the local level.
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