My Top Veto Recommendations

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I have found probably the one and only thing John Kasich and I are in agreement on. That this budget is indeed “historic”.

Kasich, who expects to sign the budget on Thursday night and commemorate its passage in a Friday ceremony, said he has viewed the “veto list” of items he could scratch from the budget.

“But we had such a good process that the number of vetoes will be limited,” he said. “It may be historic by the notion that there’s just not a lot of things we need to veto.”

To clarify, John Kasich thinks this is a historic budget because it robs from schools and local governments to give tax cuts to the wealthy, while I think it is historic budget because it robs from schools and local governments to give tax cuts to the wealthy. That’s were the agreement probably comes to an end.

Seeing how Governor Kasich can’t think of anything worth vetoing in this budget because the process was so ‘good’ I thought I would give him my top veto suggestions and see which ones he thinks might be worth crossing out. (Also, I wouldn’t call budgeting done in secret behind closed doors a ‘good process’ but if you don’t want anyone scrutinizing your policies too much than that might be a ‘good process’)

Just to give our readers a little primer on the veto process, I would suggest that you check out today’s blog post over at Innovation Ohio on what history has showed us the Governor can and can not strike from a budget. For those too lazy to click through, the Governor can strike appropriations and language from the budget but can not change an appropriation in the sense of adding or subtracting dollar amounts from it. Like everything in government it is much messier than that but for this exercise just take my word for it. So, without further ado, my top veto picks in no particular order.

1. The Estate Tax Repeal – This is a tax that is levied upon the top 7% wealthiest estates in Ohio. 93% of the people in this state will never be taxed by this. Local governments rely heavily upon this tax because they receive the vast majority of the revenue from the tax. Repealing the estate tax has nothing to do with creating jobs or trying to keep Ohioans here and everything to do with making sure rich people get richer.

2. Invest Ohio – What is this garbage? A tax credit up to $1 million for people who invest in Ohio companies? Things we do know about this: it is going to cost the state at least $100 million in revenue and rich people love investing money to receive income tax credits. Thinks we do not know: if this scheme has any chance what so ever in creating a single job in this state. This thing has to go.

3. Liquor Privatization – Another horrible deal for Ohioans. The Governor is selling all revenue for the next 25 years from the liquor business in Ohio to JobsOhio for $1.2 billion. Problem is the fair value of that revenue stream is worth easily twice that to the state if they just hold on to it and don’t sell it. As I have said before, if you are every in a negotiation I would not want Governor Kasich negotiating for me, it just doesn’t seem to end up well.

4. Charter Schools Won’t Need Sponsors Anymore – Yea, this is a bad one. As we have seen in the past for-profit charter school operators have a tendency to get a little fast and loose with their practices if they are left to their own devices. That is why we have sponsors so there is another party to make sure operators are doing the things they say they are doing and not just pocketing money from the state. Without sponsors in the mix don’t expect it to take long before operators go back to their old ways.

5.  Use Tax Amnesty – This is a good one, this was snuck in by the Senate. These provisions would grant companies a two year use tax amnesty with only a one year look back. In english, if a company has not been paying their use tax to the state for several years they will have two years to come forward and confess but only have to pay the last years use tax that they should have paid. If you cheat on your taxes long enough it looks like it might actually work in your favor.

6.Sales and Use tax exemption if you spend $100 million developing a call center – yep, that pretty much says it all. Raise your hand if you are going to be spending at least $100 million in the next two years to develop a call center. Exactly.

7.Privatization of Parking Meters – Someone in conference committee snuck in a provision that will allow localities to sell their parking meters to a private company. You know who did this recently? Chicago. You know how it ended up for them? They got much less than they should have and the parking meter rates went through the roof. Some city in Ohio has that to look forward to.

8.18% Alcoholic Beer – This is just cruel Governor, it was in there all they way up through conference committee and than at the last minute it gets ripped out. This was Speaker Batchelder’s doing wasn’t it?

9.The Consumers’ Counsel Provisions – I know that you can’t add the money back into their budget with your veto pen but you can get rid of the gag order placed on them and allow them to operate their own call center again. That would go a long way in making sure that the Counsel is able to advocate the best way in can on behalf of consumers.

So there you go Governor, nine items that could easily be crossed out of this budget that will get us closer to where this state was but not all the way there. And that was without me really trying at all. No need to thank me personally Governor, I will just be looking forward to when the check arrives.

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  1. sadly, he can’t veto 18% beer since it’s no longer in the bill. on the plus side, lower alcohol beer means more beer is sold in order to achieve same level of intoxication, thus more tax revenue for Ohio. ingenious.

  2. When I try to express my fear and disappointment on the direction of this state, I get told by a lot of people to not worry, because Kasich’s time will pass, we’ll get someone better next time around to fix a lot of mistakes. The most concerning to me is things like the Liquor Privitiziation, basically giving away guarenteed permenant revenue streams for peanuts. So, my question is, lets say Kasich gets replaced in 2014, would they have the power and ability to basically reverse all this crazy stuff in their first budget? Or is that really tough to do?

  3. @Budget Watcher – For the record, I was aware that he couldn’t but the 18% beer thing back into the budget. There was suppose to be another snarky sentence in that item explaining that but I forgot to put it in. Either way, I’m still mad that it is not in there.

    @Herc – You bring up a very good point, what would another administration have to do to repair some of the damage done by this budget. It’s a broad question but I would first think that things like restoring funding levels for education and local governments would not be that hard. We had been doing it for years at higher levels so it can be done. As for the selling of state assets, ie liquor profits, I feel like that would be much tougher to turn around. Considering you now have an idea entity, JobsOhio, relying upon that revenue for the foreseeable future what do you do? I assume whatever it is it involves a lot of lawyers.

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  1. My veto wishlist | Ohio Budget Watch

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