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Budgetary Statements By Kasich, Keen Seem To Conflict

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Ohio Public Radio
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Ohio Governor John Kasich has warned this will be a difficult budget process, but has also touted the progress Ohio has made under tax reforms he wants to continue in his two-year state budget proposal. Comparing his statements with those of his budget director almost appear to be examples of “alternative facts”. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler explains.

At an Associated Press forum for reporters, Kasich cited several examples of
economic development, and sounded off when asked if his income tax cuts have worked
to bring back thousands of jobs lost during the 2008 recession.

“800 thousand turnaround? Are you kidding me? Wages growing faster than the national
average? Going from 40 ranked in the country from wanting to do business to the top
10? It’s just – you can write what you want and I’ll respect it, but I won’t agree
with it. You’re entitled to your own opinion, as somebody once said, but not to your
own facts.”

But his budget director Tim Keen had a different take in his testimony on the budget
before the House Finance Committee, when he said wage and salary income fell in Ohio
in the last two fiscal years and is projected to fall in the coming fiscal year.

“This slower wage and salary growth in the US, where growth was 5.3% and 4.6%, and
is currently expected to be 4.6% in 2017.”

The Office of Budget and Management says these statements are technically both
correct, since wage and salary growth can be calculated in several ways. I asked
Keen if it’s misleading for Kasich to be using one statistic and Keen to cite
another.

“I don’t think so.”
“Why not?”
“Both statements are accurate. Both statements are accurate.”

As the budget process has ramped up, the governor and his budget director have made
other statements that appeared to be contradictory. Kasich told the House in
December that the state was – quote – “on the verge of recession”. But GDP is up and
the unemployment rate was steady last month. Keen has said the state is not in
recession, but that slow growth rates make it “look and feel like a recession”.

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