Early on, I thought Democratic Candidates for Ohio’s State Assembly would have a good chance to win Districts that usually go Republican. After all, Republicans have had complete dominance in Ohio’s Assembly for many, many years. The facts of long time Republican incompetence, mismanagement, and flawed operating principles in Ohio are written large for everyone to see. Republicans have a lot to account for.
I hope Democrat candidates for State Assembly, particularly, those running in gerrymandered Republican Districts, will prevail tomorrow. Voters who normally vote Republican, I feel, are looking for a reason to switch their vote. Good grief, this should be a year for Democrats. But, overall, I’ve disagreed with the strategy that Democrat Assembly candidates have used in this campaign.
I wrote early on, Republican Ohio Assembly Candidates Must Be Punished For Ohio’s Decline. But Democrat candidates, overall, have not made the case. Maybe, voters will be voting for that big D, just as a means of protest. But, I’m disappointed that Democrats have not been more aggressive in distinguishing themselves from Republicans, specifically, by talking about Ohio’s budget and tax challenges.
The word “tax” has such power, it seems, Democrats are afraid to utter the word. Barack Obama, even with his zillions of dollars to spend, has had a mighty difficult time explaining his tax policies, and maybe Democrats for these low expenditure Assembly races think the arc of explanation of real issues is simply too difficult and explaining tax policies too likely to make one vulnerable to unfair attack. It seems Democrats running for the State Assembly are trying to get elected without taking any definite stands about tax issues. The strategy of these Democrats running in heavily gerrymandered Republican Districts, seemingly is: Don’t offend, don’t challenge, don’t talk about controversial issues.
Chris Widener is the Republican candidate for state senate running against Roger Tackett. He is spending a lot on money deriding “Tackett Taxes.” But Widener gives no evidence that he has any understanding of the budget crisis that Ohio faces. I wrote early on: “Chris Widener, Republican Senate Candidate, Boasts About Tax Cuts, But How Will He Solve Ohio’s Budget Crisis?”
Ohio’s 2005 Tax Reduction Law (worth $2.2 billion each year) gave over $500 million to the top 1% of Ohio incomes — incomes in excess of $340,000. It reduced business taxes by over $1 billion each year.
As it is, because of this decrease in revenue to the state because of tax cuts, and because of the deepening recession, Ohio faces some huge challenges in forming its next budget. This year, Governor Strickland has already cut over $1.2 billion from the state budget and the challenges for the next budget promise to be horrendous.
Forming the next budget is the primary responsibility of the State Assembly. I wrote “Assembly Candidates Should Take Stand: Will Ohio Raise Taxes Or Will Ohio Cut State Services?”
I understand why Republican candidates in this campaign chose not to look at the question of the budget in honest detail. Widener and the Republicans want to boast about tax cuts, but they don’t want to talk about cutting back Grandma’s medicaid, or cutting expenditures to local governments. Ohio is facing some hard realities, and, it seems to me, it was a wrong strategy for Democrat candidate’s to the State Assembly to ignore this hard reality.
Widener was a state representative in 2005 when Republicans passed a massive income Tax Reduction Bill that greatly favored the wealthy and corporations and unfairly shifted tax burden onto the poor. John Husted, Republican candidate for the State Senate in District 6, opposed by Democrat John Doll, was the Speaker of the House. This was sterling Republican legislation and I’m sure that every Republican running for the State Assembly would defend and boast about that 2005 Tax Reduction Law. Republican campaigns are all about defending fantasy land.
Democrat campaigns should have been about reality, but, overall, weren’t. This is unfortunate because, it seems to me, many voters, if they understood Ohio’s budget, would fundamentally disagree with the Republican principles that directed the writing of this 2005 Tax Reduction Law. Republicans should have been forced to defend This 2005 Tax Reduction Law but Democrat State Assembly candidates, on this issue, have basically given the Republicans a free ride.
I wrote a post explaining that “Ohio’s 2005 Tax Reduction Law Diminished, By 21%, The Progressivity of Ohio’s Tax Code.” This change of progressivity in Ohio’s tax structure deserved to be debated, but, in this campaign was ignored