Earlier today we wrote about the $487 Million in new local taxes Ohioans are facing because of the $1.8 billion in cuts Governor Kasich made to education funding in his last budget.
When asked about the cuts and the new taxes, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols tried to change the subject to the number of levies instead of the amount of money being requested.
In a Gongwer interview Nichols defended Kasich saying: “In three of four years of Strickland there (were) more new tax levies.”
We won’t dispute this fact. There certainly may have been more levies under Governor Strickland. But it’s completely irrelevant. What’s really important is the total dollar amount and the reason for the increase in levy requests.
More levies may have been put on the ballot under Strickland, but the dollar amounts were much lower and the reason for the levies was completely different: decreases in property valuations lead to lower property tax revenues.
Under Kasich, the levies were higher and they were directly related to Kasich’s $1.8 Billion in state funding cuts to education.
We reached out to Steve Dyer, Former Chairman of the House Finance Education Subcommittee that passed Strickland’s school funding bill, to ask his opinion.
“What matters to Ohioans is how much money they are being asked to contribute to education,” said Dyer. ”And the facts are clear: Under John Kasich, they have been asked to contribute a record amount of money.”
Mr. Dyer called Kasich “Ohio’s first ‘Billion Dollar Man’ when it comes to shifting the funding burden of education from the state onto the backs of already overburdened local taxpayers.” Adding that Kasich’s funding plan, so far, has been “unconstitutional”.
We sincerely appreciate the difficulty of Mr. Nichols job. And respect the fact that he’s committed to defending his boss’s choices.
But with education funding, Kasich’s choices are nearly indefensible.
We look forward the Governor’s school funding announcement tomorrow, but more to the many new and creative ways Nichols will devise to rationalize the funding cuts and associated tax increases we fully expect to be result from Kasich’s plan.