There’s been a lot of discussion about what Ohio’s House Republicans changed in John Kasich’s budget: removing Medicaid expansion, dumping the sales tax proposal and lowering the income tax cut, while inserting a bunch of right-wing, anti-woman provisions like defunding Planned Parenthood.
But it’s worth pointing out that our self-proclaimed fiscal conservative Governor and GOP legislators both produced versions of a budget that increases state spending by billions over previous budgets.
While the new GOP version of the budget is somewhat smaller than the budget Kasich originally proposed, it still increases General Revenue Fund (GRF) spending by $7.5 Billion over Kasich’s earlier budget, and nearly $11 Billion over Strickland’s last budget. Below are the total appropriations by budget taken from the LSC analysis documents for HB1, HB153 and HB59.
Strickland First Budget (Actual) : 54.81 Billion
Strickland Second Budget (Actual) : 50.75 Billion
Kasich First Budget (Actual) : 54.05 Billion
Kasich Second Budget (Allocated) : 61.52 Billion
Strickland term in office required him to face the worst financial crisis in nearly a century. He worked with the legislature, preserved local government funds and funding for education, and received praise from the conservative Buckeye Institute for passing the only budget in nearly two decades that didn’t include spending increases greater than the rate of inflation. And it’s the surplus from Strickland’s budget that filled the state’s rainy day fund.
Kasich came into office as the economy was improving and state revenues were increasing and yet Kasich’s budgets cut billions from local government and schools while substantially increasing state spending.
With 2014 right around the corner, Ohio’s Republicans will again be running on a platform of smaller government and fiscal conservatism. They will warn you: vote for Kasich and his pals in the legislature or risk returning to the days of out-of-control spending under Democrats. They will tell you this… and they will be lying.
The truth is this: When you compare total spending in both budgets of both Governors, Kasich is on track to spend or appropriate over $10 Billion more than Strickland.