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Kasich, Budget Director Have Different Takes On Wage Growth

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Ken Teegardin
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Flickr Creative Commons

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 final budget. His statements might seem to be at odds with recent comments by his budget director.

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

“Eight-hundred thousand turnaround? Are you kidding me? Wages growing faster than the national average?” Kasich said.

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 percent and 4.6 percent, and is currently expected to be 4.6 percent in 2017,” said Keen.

The Office of Budget and Management says these statements are technically both correct, since wage and salary growth can be calculated in several ways.

Keen was asked if it’s misleading for Kasich to be using one statistic, and Keen to cite another.

“I don’t think so,” Keen said. “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 “on the verge of recession.” Keen has said the state is not in recession, but that slow growth rates make it “look and feel like a recession”.