By Jack Torry
Republican presidential contender John Kasich, who as recently as August engaged in a public feud with the Cato Institute of Washington, seems to have had a change of mind about the libertarian-leaning Washington organization.
The Kasich campaign trumpeted Cato’s praise this week of the Ohio governor’s proposed plan to balance the federal budget within eight years, a key feature which would shift federal highway and Medicaid dollars to the states.
That praise by the Kasich campaign was in sharp contrast to its biting criticism of Cato this summer when the organization claimed during Kasich’s year as governor, general revenue fund spending in Ohio had grown from $52.5 billion for the 2011-2012 spending years to $71.2 billion for the 2016-2017 budget cycle.
Aides to Kasich dismissed the claim, insisting Cato should have considered what is known as the all-funds budget, a much larger pool that includes money the state collects through licenses and fees and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants for education and the environment. Under that calculation, state spending grew at a much slower rate.
At the time, Rob Nichols, a Kasich spokesman, said “given this organization’s track record for giving A grades to states in budgetary Dumpster fires, we’re not confident that they have the best system for judging what’s good and what’s bad.”