In my last update, Kasich had a 3-0 lead.
Congratulations, Obama fans! He finally scored on the Barbarian’s tally! He proposed legislation to ban military-style assault rifles, limit the size of magazines, and expand background checks to close the notorious gun show loophole. He might even be serious. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Well done, Mr President. Push hard, and some of this will actually be enacted, even by this Congress, into law.
Then, today, Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio came out with his proposed budget. He scored with me by proposing the following:
1. A real small business income tax cut. Half of the first $750, 000 of business income, or $375,000 is exempt from the state income tax. As a Socialist, I’m not totally in favor of this, but it is progressive in its way. It clearly helps out local merchants and start ups, green grocers and farmer’s markets and repair shops and bookstores and the like. And it definitely does not give away the store to large corporations.
2. The state sales tax is lowered from 5.5% to 5%. Sales taxes are inherently regressive. Any reduction is welcome. To make up the revenue, Kasich proposes imposing the sales tax on previously exempt businesses, including law firms and lobbyists. You gotta love that.
3. Medicaid expansion. Families making up to 138% of the federal poverty line, or about $32,000 a year for a family of four, will qualify for Medicaid. Contrary to many expectations, especially in the progressive blogosphere, Kasich went for it. Yes, I realize this was part of Obamacare, but that was before the 2012 election. This scorecard is only about what has happened since.
4. An excise tax on oil and gas companies extracting oil and gas from Ohio lands. It’s not much, only 1.5% the first year and 4% thereafter, but a lot better than the current rate of nothing. Kasich originally wanted 10%, but I figure he figured he’d never get it through the Republican legislature.
5. No cuts to state funding for K-12 education as a whole. His budget actually increases state funding for poorer districts and lowers it for the very wealthiest. Hence the score.
6. Refusal to privatize the Ohio Turnpike. In fact, revenues from the state-run road will finance $1.5 billion in desperately needed revenue to improvements in roads throughout northeastern Ohio. This is a complete reversal from one of Kasich’s original campaign promises, and a good one, IMHO.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a nice, short article on the budget.
9-1. One would think a Democratic President could do better. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. I’m not optimistic, for reasons very well-known to the reader if he or she has read my previous posts, but we shall see.
Public domain photo by the Office of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich.