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BLOG: 'Jackson blasted in sermons across Ohio'

Tom Jackson • Jan 27, 2011 at 9:59 AM

That's one of the fake headlines generated after I tried my hand at being governor of Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch has put together a very cool Web site to allow everyone a chance to replace Gov. John Kasich.

The newpaper's site presents a series of multiple choice questions. You can raise taxes or cut them, eliminate special tax breaks, sell off state assets (such as the turnpike and the lottery), and chop money from a host of state programs, including programs that were protected by Gov. Ted Strickland (such as funding for public schools.)

When you're finished, be sure to enter your last name and submit your budget. The site will generate a fake news page, so that you can read what your critics would likely say.

On my first attempt, after submitting what I thought was a very tough  budget, I discovered that I fell more than $1 billion short. When I finally succeeded in getting close to a balanced budget, I got headlines such as "Jackson's plan 'far too severe,' critics assert" and "Teachers flunk Jackson for 'gutting' public education."

The site gives a real sense of the tough choices facing folks in Columbus. I choose not to raise taxes (although I tinkered with the tax system by reducing the state sales tax and state income tax but eliminating tax breaks for special interest groups, providing a net slight tax cut.) So to balance the budget, I had to cut most state programs and sell the state lottery to a private operator.

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