Is John Kasich a Fiscal Conservative? No, Says This Conservative Group

The Club for Growth has just released a white paper grading Ohio Governor John Kasich’s economic record, and their findings raise a lot of questions for the presidential hopeful on taxes and spending.

On taxes, the paper notes that budgets under Kasich’s tenure “have been proposed and passed with net decreases in overall taxation,” but warns that “he has also proposed numerous new taxes and tax increases,” such as increasing a severance tax on oil and gas extraction and a tax increase on his home state banks’ net worth as a replacement for other taxes.

The club’s diagnosis is a bit more straightforward on spending. Under Kasich, state spending in Ohio “has increased significantly since Governor Kasich’s first budget.” The white paper cites research from the Cato Institute saying that “state spending under Kasich increased by 12% from 2012 to 2015.”

“Governor Kasich says that spending increases in Ohio have only been modest,” the paper reads. “However, the CATO Institute argues the governor is using federal funds for Medicaid, education, and transportation to ‘hide how much Ohio’s state spending has grown during his tenure.'”

In the end, the white paper concludes that Kasich has a “mixed record on matters of economic liberty” which “might have been even worse had a Republican legislature not stopped some of his tax proposals.”  Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a candidate who relies heavily on his reputation as a fiscal hawk to counteract his unpopular opinions on base issues like Common Core and religious liberty.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action.