Social Justice Opinion: Kasich’s two-year plan is not what it looks like By Matt Stephens Posted on February 12, 2015 8 min read 0 0 488 On Feb. 2, Gov. John Kasich proposed a new two-year budget plan for the state of Ohio, referring to it as the “Blueprint for a new Ohio”. The governor proposed a 100 percent income tax deduction for small business. Kasich also proposed a 23 percent cut in general income taxes as well as increases for personal exemptions. Kasich is also trying to implement a new budget for education that would cut state funding for wealthier school districts in Ohio while raising funding for failing school districts, especially in inner cities. This sounds like something great for Ohio and something a Democrat would impose. Is Gov. Kasich okay? As ESPN commentator Lee Corso would say, not so fast, my friends. Kasich’s proposal has its share of flaws. Ohioans will have to pay for all of these deductions with hikes in local sales taxes. The state sales tax would be raised from 5.75 percent to 6.25 percent for every $100 of goods an Ohioan spends. Kasich would also, under the new plan, raise severance taxes on Ohio oil and gas profits (majority being from fracking wells) to 6.5 percent. Fracking is not an environmentally friendly way to obtain gas and oil. However, Ohioans at this point still depend on gas to fill their tanks to get to work. This will hurt everyday consumers at Ohio gas stations. The education plan to help Ohio schools that are failing sounds like something that would be very beneficial. However, how can this be effective if Kasich is implementing cuts to wealthy schools and he does the complete opposite? Cincinnati has one school district that is a small district called Indian Hill School District in a very wealthy community. Under Kasich’s plan he would be cutting funding for schools like Indian Hill, right? Actually, Indian Hill in Cincinnati is under the list in Kasich’s proposal for districts to have funds increased. Indian Hill, a community where most residents bring in at least $200,000 a year and the median housing values top $900,000, is receiving an increase. This proposal already has some teachers at some school districts fired up, and its lack of consistency is unethical. If you are going to take away funds from wealthier school districts, you should do what you state you are going to do. There should not be exceptions to groups of certain Ohioans that do not even fit the criteria Kasich is trying to implement in the first place. Gov. Kasich’s proposal for a 23 percent cut will affect all Ohio tax brackets. This means Kasich is still cutting taxes for the wealthiest of Ohio citizens as well. If you want the Ohio economy to be in better shape, why would you cut taxes for every tax bracket? Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes, meaning there should be increased taxation on Ohio’s wealthiest citizens. This just allows for the rich to get even richer in the state of Ohio, while poor citizens pay more in sales taxes and filling their gas tanks. Another element of Kasich’s proposal is to increase taxation on cigarettes from $1 a pack to $2.25 a pack. Obviously, this is not a big deal for non-smokers. However, it should be a concern for everyone. A gallup poll from 2008 showed that the majority of individuals who smoke cigarettes (34 percent) have an annual household income of $12,000 or less. The raise in prices is going to hurt individuals who are addicted to cigarettes. Low-income individuals who are addicted will be forced to make sacrifices elsewhere. I am not here rallying behind cigarette usage, as it is harmful to an individuals health: however, we are hurting our poorest citizens in the state of Ohio by doing this. Gov. Kasich has a chance at being a Republican presidential candidate in 2016. This does not mean it is acceptable to front a political agenda into the future of Ohioans. This is a time to build up Ohio. Some of his motives are good, that is, if he actually lives up to what he says he is trying to do — especially in regards to Indian Hill School District. When you take a look at reality, many of his proposals will hurt the poorest Ohioans in many respects. Gov. Kasich has created a new proposal that looks good on paper but hurts Ohioans. Everything is okay for Kasich since he is too busy taking trips to South Carolina to campaign for the White House, rather than standing behind what his agenda pretends to implement.