ICYMI: Renacci Plan to Root Out Corruption: Bar Large-Dollar Political Donors from Conducting State Business


Jim Renacci was the lone Republican gubernatorial candidate to join the daily Today in Ohio podcast where he discussed his plan to root out corruption in Ohio, along with other issues like job creation, the gas tax, and gun rights.

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By Seth A. Richardson, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Rep. Jim Renacci, a Wadsworth Republican running for governor, said he would bar large-dollar political donorsin the state from conducting state business as a way to root out corruption.

Renacci made the comments during a special episode of Today in Ohio, the daily news podcast from cleveland.com. Preventing donors from receiving state contracts would end some of the pay-to-play mentality in Columbus, he said.

“Let’s just say it’s $5,000,” Renacci said. “If you donate more than $5,000 to any statewide candidate, you cannot get a contract with the state, and you cannot be appointed to a position that pays you money with the state. That makes it pretty easy.”

Renacci was the lone Republican gubernatorial candidate to join Today in Ohio for the special episode, where he discussed other issues such as job creation, the gas tax and gun reform.

Columbus-area businessman Joe Blystone and former state Rep. Ron Hood did not respond to invitations for interviews. Gov. Mike DeWine initially accepted before backing out, citing a scheduling conflict.

Below are some of the questions and selected excerpts of Whaley’s responses from the interview. You can listen to the full interview here.

The state lost more than 145,000 jobs under Gov. Mike DeWine. Why should voters think another Republican will do any better?

Renacci said he had a record of building companies and employing more than 3,000 people, so he knew what it took to attract jobs.

“The problem in government today is that there is no priority set,” Renacci said. “There is no long-term vision. The vision is only until the next election. And I think what Ohio actually needs is a vision of probably 10 years out.”

Renacci said that 10-year plan would include making Ohio more like the states of Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Indiana, especially on taxes. He said the state should move from an income tax to a consumption tax, eliminate the commercial activity tax and slash spending.

Following multiple mass shootings around the state, what, if any, gun regulations should be implemented?

Renacci said he does not support gun restrictions and thinks more people should be armed.

Renacci also said that to encourage public safety, he would support law enforcement and first responders. However, both groups have opposed recent gun measures, such as stand-your-ground laws and permitless carry, saying they made their jobs more dangerous.

Renacci said that police and first responders were mistaken in thinking those measures would potentially put them in danger.

“You know, some are on record of saying that, and others aren’t,” he said.

Should the state end the death penalty?

Renacci, a Catholic, said he would personally favor ending the death penalty. He said he would not supersede the law of Ohio but would sign a bill or personally support a movement to end the death penalty.

“As a governor, I would sign it if that legislation came forward,” he said. “But if it doesn’t, I will support the death penalty if that’s the direction the state wants to go forward.”

What is his plan to replenish the local government fund, which has been shrinking for years?

Renacci said moving to a consumption tax would help with diminishing local budgets. That included eliminating local income taxes.

“All of the taxes we have, including city income tax, why is it only three or four states have a city income tax, yet they all have prospering cities?” Renacci said. “I mean, Tennessee is one of the states that I think of that went away from a city income tax, but their cities are prospering. We need to look at all of those things and figure out a way, so the state can prosper.”

How does he plan to address corruption in the statehouse?

Renacci said he supported putting more transparency on political donations and state contracts. He pointed to law contracts with the attorney general’s office, which correlated with campaign donations in past years.

Renacci said he also supported capping contracts with the state by political donation level.

Does he support getting rid of the gas tax?

Renacci is in favor of a gas tax holiday of some kind. He said he favors retooling how infrastructure funding is handled in the state instead of relying primarily on the gas tax.

“There are a lot of user fee options that should be looked at,” he said. “I think they should all be looked at. It’s just too easy to raise the gas tax.”

“I think in the end, we should be cognizant that there are other ways of doing it other than just raising the gas tax,” Renacci added. “But I am a believer in the user-fee method. If you use something, you should pay for it. The 98-year-old or 95-year-old, like my mother, or the 96-year-old who is not driving, why should she pay for the roads that she’s not driving on?

Some of those alternatives could include things such as vehicle-by-weight or miles driven, he said.