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Kasich touts Valley in speech; will action follow his words?

Published: Thu, March 10, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By this time next week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s first biennium budget will be subjected to close scrutiny by just about everyone involved in state government. Of particular interest to most Ohioans is whether the two-year spending plan developed by the freshman governor reflects the shared sacrifice he spoke about Tuesday during his State of the State address to a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly.

There’s no doubt that Republican Kasich and the Republican-controlled House and Senate have a monumental task in balancing the spending plan in the midst of a national economic downturn without hurting the job-creation initiatives the administration is pursuing.

In his address, the governor made it clear that spending cuts alone would not erase the $8 billion shortfall — anticipated revenue compared with what state departments and agencies are spending in the current biennium — but he also insisted that a tax increase was out of the question.

“We cannot tax our way to prosperity,” he said, contending that Ohio is one of the highest taxing states in the nation.

So, if spending cuts alone won’t balance the books, and a tax increase is out of the question, what other avenues is the governor pursuing to gain control of the budget?

We look forward to finding the answer in the blueprint he will submit Tuesday to the General Assembly.

We are also curious to learn how the governor intends to spare economically hard-hit regions like the Mahoning Valley from the pain that is bound to come with his austere spending plan. During his speech, he specifically talked about Youngstown, the Mahoning Valley and Youngstown State University, leaving the distinct impression that he, like his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, intends to make the state a partner in this region’s job-creation effort.

“I went to Lordstown,” he said, referring to his visit to General Motors Corp.’s assembly plant. “We cannot let Lordstown fail. It is the center of that Valley. We’ve got to make sure that we work closely with the auto officials, and we must do what we have to do to make sure that plant is up to date. And while we have the [Chevrolet] Cruze, I always think in the future: What do we get next in Lordstown? The union and the management have worked well together.”

Kasich also mentioned “the steel plant” — V&M Star’s $650 million state-of-the-art steel pipe-making facility being built by the company’s French parent, Vallourec — and Delphi Packard Electric as assets in the region.

Democratic roots

The governor, who is well aware of the deep Democratic roots in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, also strongly endorsed Youngstown State University, which, like the other state universities and colleges in Ohio, is facing a major funding cut from the state.

“It is a wonderful school and its best days are clearly ahead, and we will do everything ... to make sure that Youngstown State is as solid and as great as it can be,” Kasich said.

During his four years in office, former Gov. Strickland paid special attention to the Mahoning Valley because he recognized the challenges the area has faced since the steel industry collapsed more than three decades ago. While there has been progress made in diversifying the economy, the creation of high-paying jobs remains a priority.

We are encouraged by Gov. Kasich’s comments, but for the people of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, actions speak louder than words.


1NoBS(2758 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Kasich was just talking the talk. When it comes time to walk the walk, he'll say "Mahoning WHAT? Never heard of 'em."

It will be interesting to see what he's going to do, if he won't raise taxes, and can't cut enough to balance the budget (which I've said before - if he fired each and every state employee, that would save $2 billion but leave $6 billion still unfunded, plus there'd be no services at all.) Maybe he'll sell the Turnpike, or find other ways to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

I'd like to be "encouraged" by his rhetoric, but I'm far too skeptical - I've seen politicians tell fibs before, and won't be surprised if I see it again.

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2unhappy(1 comment)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

He will do something. The question is what. He said he would talk will talk with auto officials (GM). What he will try to do is bust the union like he is trying to do with public employees. Before you start talking about the money, let me tell you what SB5 will do. If there are any GM employees seeing this be prepared for a fight. Per SB5 you will not be allowed to bargain for anything except wages. SB5 allows companies to outsource work and the union is FORBIDDEN to talk to the company about it and it will be a done deal. I remember my brother talking about the company wanting to outsource jobs back in the early 1990's and I am quite sure it has been an issue many times since then. Per SB5 anything that was negotiated in the past will be NULL AND VOID. Anything that is past practice will be NULL AND VOID. Seniority will be worthless. SB5, for public employees, allows for privatization and any worker who now does that job MUST BE LAID OFF. It is forbidden for them to transfer somewhere else. It will not surprise me if the version of SB5 that is introduced into the Senate makes outsourcing a type or "privatization" therefore laying off people.

Lordstown really needs to stay there and I hope it does.

I know there is allot of comments about SB5, but believe me, it this becomes law and is not overturned in November, each and every working person, whether you are union or not, public employee or private company worker, you will not be happy. We will go back 30 years and have working conditions and wages from them. The only people who will be happy are employers because they have more money in their pockets.

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3Jake(112 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

The Valley's problems are largely self-inflicted, and began long before Kasich took office. People need to stop looking for a hero in Columbus or Washington DC to rescue us from our own mistakes. Continuing to operate the same way and vote the same way will produce the same results no matter who sits in a mansion hundreds of miles away.

As long as we keep seeing businesses as something to unionize, bleed and tax to death we'll continue to see businesses leave and never come back.

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