Columbus Dispatch: Former Gov. Gilligan lauded in memorial

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Columbus Dispatch: Former Gov. Gilligan lauded in memorial

Gilligan, who died on Aug. 26 at his Cincinnati home, was remembered for the big things in his term as governor from 1971 to 1975: coaxing a GOP legislature to enact the state’s first income tax; creating the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Commission on Aging; and vastly improving the lot of public schoolchildren and the mentally ill.

While known as the father of Ohio’s income tax, Brown said Gilligan’s “greatest achievements were to move Ohio away from the embarrassing position of ranking near the bottom in so much that mattered.” Brown was referring to Ohio’s reputation when Gilligan took office as a state where schools were closing for lack of money, the mentally ill and handicapped were neglected, and state roads and bridges were crumbling.

Gilligan’s bold pursuit of the income tax improved Ohioans’ lives “and it cost him his governorship,” Brown said. Gilligan lost his 1974 re-election bid to Republican James A. Rhodes, who said Gilligan “taxed everything in Ohio that walks, crawls or flies.”

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