Only one of three 2006 Governor-hopefuls would have done it better than Taft

Officeholders Give Peek At 2006 Governor's Race

January 8, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Statewide officeholders gave a hint Thursday of the 2006 governor's race when the three fellow Republicans disagreed on whether to repeal the temporary increase in the state sales tax before it would expire in 2005.

The three outlined the measures they will back in the GOP-dominated Legislature at a 2004 preview session for journalists organized by The Associated Press.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell wants a ballot measure to repeal the one-penny increase enacted in the state's two-year budget last July. Attorney General Jim Petro agreed that eliminating the tax early would be good, but Auditor Betty Montgomery warned that would cause chaos in state agencies that already have set budgets, signed contracts and promised services.

Although Montgomery and Petro parted on the sales tax, they both said the concealed weapons bill that lawmakers sent to Taft on Wednesday does not go far enough in allowing public access to the lists of permit holders.

Taft, a Republican, has said he would sign the bill, which allows only reporters to see the list, and concealed carry advocates opposed allowing even that much openness.

"They said they're afraid criminals will be able to find out who has guns and not mug them; that's a stretch," Petro said. Montgomery alluded to her aspirations for the governor's office when she said, "I would not sign this bill."

Blackwell said he opposed allowing reporter access, but it didn't bother him enough to oppose the bill as a whole.

Commentary by Chad D. Baus: It's official. Only Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell would have handled the HB12 legislative debacle any better than Bob Taft. Quite possibly, one or both of his opponents would have botched it up even more - and they freely admit it.

Hearing State Auditor Betty Montgomery's admission that she would not sign HB12 is should be no surprise. When she was Ohio's attorney general, Montgomery fought to continue the state's ban on concealed carry, even as two courts and four judges found the law to be unconstitutional. During the 2002 election season, she claimed that she was bound by her job requirements to defend the Constitution on the CCW matter. We're not sure which part she was defending - it certainly wasn't Article 1, Section 4. She also told OFCC PAC's Vice Chairman that she opposes CCW personally, and has ignored repeated requests from OFCC PAC for an official position statement in the early days of her 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

Attorney General Jim Petro isn't getting off on the right foot by saying he'd have refused to accept anything less than full public disclosure of licensee's private information. Under HB12, it is Petro who will be empowered to negotiate reciprocity agreements with other states. We will be expecting quick and decisive action from his office to ensure that Ohioans may visit other states while bearing arms for self-defense, and that visitors who come here may do the same.

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