In today's Columbus Dispatch, Kasich made his most direct attack yet:
He nails it. Strickland simply hasn't shown the courage to bring Ohio back from the brink. Our Republic, our very economy, wasn't designed to rely on a far off Capital to make everything better everytime things go bad. It's up to Ohioans to fix Ohio. And only one man understands that -- John Kasich.
At a time when Ohio's economy is in a death spiral and the state continues to shed jobs, it is irrespons-ible for our state's leadership to increase spending based on a one-time bailout from the federal government. Ohio's families are tightening their belts and making tough spending decisions. But Gov. Ted Strickland consistently has refused to make tough decisions, and his two-year budget plan puts the state's long-term economic future at risk.
Over the past two years, he has made a series of bad choices that have contributed to the state's economic woes. In laying out his previous two-year plan back in 2007, Strickland played games with the budget, allowing spending in fiscal year 2009 to exceed revenues by almost $1 billion. The negative effects of this were compounded in 2008, when tax revenue fell dramatically because of the souring economy.
Last month, the governor unveiled his outline for addressing Ohio's problems. Unfortunately, rather than a sound fiscal plan for Ohio to live within its means, Ohioans received a misguided plan that increased spending and pinned the economic future on a handout from the federal government, for which Strickland for months had been lobbying his friends in Washington. The problem is that this is merely a bandage. It allows the governor to kick the can down the road rather than make tough choices now that will put the state on a sure footing. A governor with his hand out for more money is not the type of leaders that instills confidence or will bring jobs to Ohio.
Strickland's strategy is to hold on for dear life and hope voters don't connect Ohio's failures to him. That strategy has worked....'til now. His rival has called him out from hiding. Will Strickland bite? Probably not. Not until the Ohio media does a better job of recognizing his Neville Chamberlain style of leadership. Kasich's willingness to call down the fire is just the first step. But many more salvos will be needed. The media needs to hear the criticism to report on it.
What can you do? Sign up at Rechargeohio.com. Write letters to the editor expressing your frustration with Strickland. Spread the word.
Strickland called down the thunder. Well now he's got it.
UPDATE: Wow. Ask and you shall receive. This morning's Columbus Dispatch takes up the Kasich banner and runs with it.
Gov. Ted Strickland and the General Assembly have a fiduciary obligation to draw up a spending plan that looks beyond the next budget cycle.Would I have liked them to mention Kasich? Sure. But it's very good news to see the media finally knocking off pieces of the Strickland armor.
Strickland's $54.7 billion blueprint for fiscal 2010-11 falls well short of that, meaning that the subsequent budget might require a steep tax increase or spending cuts far deeper than the ones the state is now experiencing.
Using $7 billion in one-time money for long-term obligations is irresponsible. If Strickland's plan presumes a future tax increase or some new revenue source such as gambling, he should say so now, not after the 2010 election when he is expected to run for a second term.
As presented, Strickland's budget is been more of a political document than a fiscal one.
Folks, this is exactly how it's supposed to work. Once the opposition speaks up, the media reports. But don't expect to see an all-out Kasich assault anytime soon. This is just the first shot in a long war, and we don't want to use up all the ammunition early.