Gov. John Kasich has gone through a lot of pens in the last week, signing into law a big stack of bills that lawmakers passed before leaving Capitol Square for a summer campaign break. Kasich signed more than two dozen bills over the last few days, including the main appropriations bill that was part of his budget update bill called the mid-biennium review. He also signed bills related to painkiller abuse, sex trafficking, K-12 and higher education, and other issues.
Kasich also spoke out this week on his signing of the bill putting a temporary stop to the green energy mandates on Ohio's electric utilities, saying he feels the two year stop in the progress of the energy standards - which he calls a "pause" and not a "freeze" - was the right solution to concerns about the utilities' claims that the alternative energy standards were costing them too much money.
Advocates have long bickered over last year's budget, which along with business and personal income tax cuts included what most people have characterized as a tax increase - the elimination of a 12.5% property tax rollback for homeowners, which means the state would no longer pay that share of new operating levies for school districts. The liberal leaning think-tank Innovation Ohio says that's leading to more and more levies for schools, but Kasich and state lawmakers have said that tax cuts are improving Ohio's economy. Two experts in the area of taxes and state spending talk about the issue. Dale Butland is with Innovation Ohio, which has produced several reports on what they describe as the negative effect of Gov. Kasich's tax policies. And Greg Lawson is with the Buckeye Institute, which calls itself a free market think tank.
June 20, 2014