Tea Partiers Take on the Ohio GOP

It’s spring break at the Statehouse, and while there aren’t any sessions or committee hearings going on, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing happening. Lawmakers are taking this time off to hold some behind the scenes talks about the future of the budget, which has been opposed by key business and conservative groups and has raised a lot of concerns for elected officials. Meanwhile, one of the most important lawmakers in this process is now hinting strongly that the expansion of the state sales tax to fund the income tax cut is pretty much dead, as business groups were hoping. Ron Amstutz of Wooster chairs the House Finance and Appropriations Committee and says he and other Republicans are very concerned about an analysis that shows the tax shift from income to sales taxes would hit businesses hard.

Gov. John Kasich was on this show last week to defend and promote his budget, which he says includes big ideas and change that he says that may be hard for some people to make. Republicans and Democrats have been sounding off on those ideas in the last few weeks. Among those is the liberal think tank Innovation Ohio. Dale Butland is the communications director for Innovation Ohio.

As Gov. Kasich battles to preserve his budget, he’s facing opposition from members of his own party. The Ohio Republican Party is gearing up for next year’s campaigns, and it's also preparing for the retirement of Bob Bennett. But a coalition of conservative groups says they have some problems with the party. Members of those groups have signed a statement blasting the tax shift, the severance tax hike and the Medicaid expansion in Gov. Kasich’s budget, Sen. Rob Portman’s recent change of heart on gay marriage, and the choice of Matt Borges to chair the Ohio GOP. Among the signers of the statement are Former state representatives Tom Brinkman, Linda Reidelbach and Seth Morgan, who was on this show recently in his role with Americans for Prosperty, and Janet Folger Porter of Faith 2 Action, the group that championed the Heartbeat Bill last year, and Tom Zawistowski, the President of the We the People Convention and Executive Director of the Portage County TEA Party. Zawistowski talks about it through the facilities of WNEO in Kent.

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