Kasich announces selection of state tax commissioner and intention to repeal prevailing wages

Gov.-elect John Kasich is turning to former Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa to be his state tax commissioner, a key position on the governor's team with a looming $8 billion budget shortfall next year and Kasich vowing to cut taxes.

Kasich made the announcement Thursday morning with Testa during a press conference at the Franklin County Courthouse.

Testa, 63, a Grove City Republican, acknowledged that dealing with a multibillion-dollar budget hole next year won't be easy, but he says he fully supports Kasich's plan to balance the budget without raising taxes.

"John Kasich means what he says, and that's part of the reason why I'm excited about joining this team is that I want to help him make that reality," he said.

Despite the expected multibillion-dollar shortfall, Kasich has promised not to raise taxes and also implement the final piece of a 21-percent income-tax cut that was delayed to help balance the current budget.

Kasich also has vowed to phase out the state's income tax entirely but has not provided a timetable, saying only that he would reduce the tax as he reduces spending by reshaping state government.

"We aren't going to be able to resolve the issues of Ohio, making Ohio more tax-friendly, business-friendly, to help businesses grow and create jobs just by moving the ball around and increasing somebody else's taxes someplace," Testa said after the press conference. "It just doesn't make sense."

During Thursday's event, Kasich said he wants to balance Ohio's budget by eliminating union-scale wages on public construction jobs and revisiting laws that send nonviolent offenders to prison.

The following is a link to the entire article from the Columbus Dispatch