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Ed FitzGerald, the Democratic candidate for governor in the Nov. 4 election, campaigned Thursday in a South Toledo deli to make the case that the current administration has hurt small business, and has not adequately revived job growth in Ohio.
Mr. FitzGerald stood with Jackie David, co-owner of the Original Sub Shop at 402 Broadway St. while her husband, Sargis David, made lunches for a catering job.
“We really want to emphasize how really tough it has been, and still is, to run a small business in Ohio. If you’re a big corporation that happens to be close to the governor you probably got a lot of help in the last few years,” Mr. FitzGerald said. “There’s been very little emphasis on small business.”
The FitzGerald assault on Gov. John Kasich’s business platform occurred as the governor himself was heralding his endorsement by the Ohio chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, which endorsed him earlier in the week. That group has 25,000 members.
“There’s no question who the job creators support and want to have managing our state: It’s John Kasich, the governor who has restored fiscal sanity in Ohio and cut taxes by $3 billion, including a 75 percent tax deduction for virtually every small business in the state,” said Connie Wehrkamp, spokesman for Governor Kasich.
Mr. FitzGerald pinned his argument on the increase in the sales tax and the commercial activities tax under Mr. Kasich. And he said cuts in state funding for school districts and local government have undercut local economies that support small business.
Ms. David, who has owned the business with her husband for 35 years, said, “I don’t think Governor Kasich speaks for small business; he’s more aligned with special interests, corporations.” She said the sales tax increase has made it harder for people to dine out.
She said she did not want to portray business as bad.
“We are making a living,” she said.
The Kasich campaign cites the governor’s successful initiatives to lower the state income tax by 10 percent over three years and to cut income taxes on small businesses by 50 percent on the first $250,000 of income. Those initiatives are projected to save taxpayers nearly $2 billion in 2014 and 2015.
“The fact is, we’re still about 140,000 jobs on the negative side compared with where we were before the recession,” Mr. FitzGerald said.
Mr. FitzGerald is also pointing to a report by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University saying Ohio ranked 38th in the country for job growth, as of May.
Ms. Wehrkamp, said, “We're never satisfied with the job creation numbers because there's always more work to do, but clearly the Democrats are selectively editing the data because reality doesn’t match their political rhetoric.”
She said data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that Ohio has improved from 48th to 6th in job creation nationally and 1st in the Midwest. She said Ohio lost 350,000 private sector jobs under Mr. Kasich’s Democratic predecessor and has regained 253,000 private sector jobs under Mr. Kasich.