Over at the Cincinnati Enquirer, politics writer Jason Williams argues that the incoming 18 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase is the result of eight years of John Kasich's funding neglect as governor, and not current GOP governor Mike DeWine's fault.
The next time you hear John Kasich on CNN or on a campaign trail bragging about how he was such a budget hawk during his time as Ohio governor, remember this:
His parting gift to Ohioans was leaving the transportation budget in shambles. The fallout: The cost of your commute is likely going to increase beginning in July.
Kasich kicked the can for years on a long-term budget fix in order to help preserve his political future – leaving the state facing a projected shortfall of $1 billion a year for roads over the next decade.
As the legislature mulls new Gov. Mike DeWine's whopping 18-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase, don't forget this: This tax hike is very much a part of Kasich's legacy.
If the legislature approves DeWine's plan, Ohio's gas tax would increase to 46 cents per gallon – fifth-highest in the U.S.
Don't blame DeWine, who has the political capital to do this because he's in his job before retirement. His options are limited, especially considering the Kasich administration strapped the state with hundreds of millions in debt to fix roads and bridges.
I don't blame either of them...I blame Ohio's GOP state lawmakers who spent years cutting taxes for the rich and for fracking companies (the latter something Kasich actually tried to stop) and didn't give a damn about the state's roads or bridges. Republicans had a supermajroity in both the Ohio House and Senate for years and did nothing to alleviate the problem then.
Now DeWine is stuck holding the bag, but he still has the same GOP majorities to get this past, and odds are they won't pass it, while Ohio's infrastructure continues to fall apart.
Williams goes on to say Kasich was too much of a coward to fix the budget and raise taxes in order to maintain his business-friendly image heading into 2020 and that's correct, but the tax issue isn't his problem, it's the Ohio State House, and it always has been.