COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mary Taylor, Ohio’s auditor of State since 22006 who could become the state’s Lt. Gov. if she and her running mate John Kasich win the hearts and minds of voters in November, as some polls increasingly say is likely, laid into Gov. Strickland Wednesday as an “incompetent administrator” who has allowed about 379,000 jobs to be lost in Ohio since he became governor in 2007.
Taylor, daughter of a union bricklayer who said her guiding star in life has always been to follow her father’s advice of “Doing the right thing,” engaged reporters in a short conference call yesterday, during which she read a prepared statement that broadsided President Barack Obama and Strickland for what they’ve done and what they want to do.
Obama, in town speaking to a couple whose livelihood has been saved due to recovery acting spending, traveled to Downtown to attend a fundraiser for Ohio Democrats including Strickland. Taylor lambasted both Democrats for the massive federal spending they say saved the nation from crashing into another economic depression, one made all to real by uncontrolled spending by her party under former two-term Republican President, George W. Bush, and those who supported him, like Ohio congressman John Boehner of southwest Ohio, who could become the next speaker of the U.S. House if the GOP wins 40 seats in November.
Taylor and Kasich say the big spending from Washington, supported by only two Republicans in congress, has only burdened further generations with high deficits without creating jobs in the short run.
As the only Republican running for a statewide office in 2006 who avoided the agony of defeat that befell her party’s other candidates that year, Taylor’s time in office has been free of political embarrassment. A trained and certified accountant, the first candidate with CPA after her name to win the auditor’s slot, Taylor has not stumbled or tripped as have several members of the 2006 class of state office winners, like former Attorney General Marc Dann who was drummed from office – mainly at the hands of his fellow Democrats, led by Strickland – and Ohio’s Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, who caused lots of party friction in her loosing run against Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher to compete against GOP candidate Rob Portman for U.S. Senator and who will leave office this year to re-enter private practice as another citizen attorney looking for some paying clients.
[watch the video below]
In a warm video portrait released Thursday by the Kasich-Taylor for Ohio Campaign, Taylor speaks glowingly of her family upbringing and states generalities about what it will take to get Ohio – with an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent – back on its feet again.
A blond while in the legislature, Taylor, now a brunette, talks about her vote while in the legislature against raising taxes, which her party and its leaders at the time were pushing. She recounts how it resulted in her removal from various committees. Probably discomforting to local voters who don’t understand the realities of running for office and then holding your committee assignments once you come to Columbus and are inducted into your party’s army, the political realities of not running with your herd, and the consequences for going astray, are true and ever present.
But notwithstanding the negative consequences of voting your conscience, Taylor says she “did the right thing” by breaking ranks with her party because raising taxes is not in her guidebook of right things to do.
Big Ohio job losses suffered under Republican regimes
While Taylor lambasted Obama and Strickland for big spending and big job losses, she and her running mate John Kasich have avoided acknowledging the cruel truth that prior to Strickland becoming governor in 2007, the Republican party and its leaders, which controlled all of Ohio government from executive and statewide offices to both chambers of the legislature for 16 years prior to Strickland, promulgated public policy that may have catered to their base constituency of big business but in fact built a business environment that floundered, unable to stem the tide of hundreds of thousands of jobs that went elsewhere.
During the uninterrupted reign of Republicans in Ohio, more jobs were lost than created. According to PolitiFact Ohio, a fact checking service co-sponsored by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio has lost 568,300 jobs since January of 2000, when a Republican governor, Robert Taft, and a Republican legislature controlled the gears of government. Of these lost jobs, PolitiFact noted, 403,800 came in the manufacturing sector.
Some historical perspective on job losses over the decades
Between 1994 and 2000, the U.S. lost more than 3 million jobs and job opportunities-equal to 2.3 percent of the labor force, according to figures from an Economic Policy Institute report from October of 2001.
Ohio, in this same time period, lost 100,000 jobs. But in a report prepared by Yoonsoo Lee and Brian Rudick in April 2006 for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the key areas for job loss – about two-thirds – come from so-called “job destruction” at continuing establishments.
The authors emphasize that the rate of job destruction and job creation is much more important than the number of jobs created or lost.
Since mid-1994, the year the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, went into effect, a measure signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, with strong support from the Republican party and its leaders of the day, Ohio, totally controlled by Republicans, had from 1995 to 2001 a 0.6 percent average annual employment growth, a figure well below the national average of 1.6 percent. This placed Ohio among the five states with the lowest employment growth over this period, according to an Economic Policy Institute report.
In Ohio, job creation rates were relatively low in both manufacturing and non manufacturing industries since the late 1980s, the authors said, suggesting that weak job creation in Ohio is fairly broad based.
And while the increase in job destruction rates is observed for both sources — closing businesses as well as those that are eliminating positions — the increase at continuing establishments is much more noticeable. For Ohio, job destruction at continuing establishments in 1989 was 8.5 percent, and by 2001 it had risen to 12.9 percent.
Growing states in general, the authors noted, have not only higher rates of job creation but also higher rates of job destruction. This finding suggests, they said, that slowly growing states are not falling behind because they are losing more existing jobs, but because their labor market is stagnant, resulting in relatively low job creation and destruction.
The growth of Ohio’s population slowed for the three decades after 1970, and according to the latest Census figures, the percent change in population from April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 was 1.7 percent compared to the national rate of 9.1 percent. As Ohio, by percentage factors, becomes older and poorer, attracting younger and brighter minds becomes increasingly difficult, when greener and more lucrative pastures lie elsewhere.
For the long-run growth of Ohio’s economy, Lee and Rudick said job creation, both from new firms and the expansion of existing ones, is the key. “To ensure the future growth and success of the economy, we must employ innovative ways to recycle our labor to new and more productive jobs.”
Kasich and Taylor say they have confidence they can “move the needle” of job growth quickly. Time will tell if they are correct, presuming they win the hearts, minds and votes of Ohioans on November 2nd.
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