Letter to Governor John Kasich

Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-6617

Dear Governor Kasich:

I’ve been reading about how the legislature and you have been pounding the public employee unions but not going after corporate welfare kings with the same focus and intensity. This is surprising because you hosted the first full-fledged Congressional hearings on corporate welfare in the summer of 1999 as Chairman of the House Budget Committee. (Hearing Publication Serial No. 106-5)

No Governor has a past that is more knowledgeable and critical of corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways and bailouts than you. I know this firsthand because of my work with you in proposing and preparing for the hearings during which I submitted testimony.

Therefore, I and many people in Ohio and outside of your state would welcome what plans you have to survey the range and dollar value of these corporate subsidies that have found their way into so many of Ohio’s laws over the years.

Just a few days ago, two members of the Virginia House of Delegates, David J. Toscano, a Democrat, and R. Lee Ware, a Republican, wrote the enclosed op-ed in the March 27, 2011 Washington Post that opened with these words:

“The March 13 article ‘In shaky economic times, Virginia doling out tax breaks,’ provided a key insight into a flaw in Virginia’s budget process exposed during our recent recession: Virginia has failed to systematically analyze millions of dollars being spent each year on tax credits and preferential incentives provided to those groups savvy enough to negotiate the legislative process.” The two state lawmakers then pointed out ways to establish standards and regular oversight.

There are many other categories of corporate subsidies at the state level that once entrenched just go on and on year after year without review. Also attached is a summary of a study of ineffective corporate subsidy programs by Good Jobs First, a nonprofit, non-partisan research center. The full study—Slashing Subsidies, Bolstering Budgets—is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org.

So, please tell the taxpayers, workers and citizens of Ohio, that Governor Kasich intends to promptly go after wasteful and unnecessary business subsidies—one by one—to restore revenues for critical programs now being cut back.

I am also enclosing an article I wrote for the Harvard Business Review that you may find useful in producing a more efficient government.

Looking forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

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