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Kasich: 'We can be a shining example'

Published: Wed, February 20, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.


Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima.

RELATED: • Kasich’s address draws about a dozen protesters

• Sales tax on newspapers? Broad expansion being proposed




Calling jobs “our greatest moral purpose” and defending a two-year spending plan that he says will ensure the state remains on the economic upswing, Gov. John Kasich outlined his vision for Ohio Tuesday night.

“My mission is to make sure that everybody in our state has a chance to realize their hopes and dreams and that their families can do much better,” the governor said. “Because it’s not good enough for some to do well while we leave others behind. We must [work] everyday to make sure that everyone has a chance in Ohio.”

He added, “We are succeeding here in Ohio turning our state around, and it is fantastic.”

Kasich didn’t tread too much new ground before an audience of more than 1,700 lawmakers, state officials and other invited guests gathered in an auditorium just off the northwestern Ohio city’s central square.

He reviewed statistics he’s repeated to audiences since taking office — how Ohio is now tops in the Midwest in job creation, how 120,000-plus new jobs have been created and how there’s now $1.9 billion in the formerly depleted rainy day fund.

He touted his administration’s policy decisions — controlling Medicaid spending, reducing the size of state government, lowering taxes, refunding overpayments to businesses, establishing the JobsOhio nonprofit to coordinate the state’s economic development programs.

He talked about visiting the state as a child, “the promised land” across the state border from his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa.

“I fell in love,” Kasich said. “I sensed Ohio’s excitement then. I felt its opportunity. I knew Ohio was going to be my home. ... It’s just so awesome here.”

He added, “Ohio is a land of hope and opportunity, realized dreams for our families. We’re safe. We’re friendly. We’re filled with the potential to pursue our passions. We take care of our neighbors. Ohio is a place where we can work, contribute, build a better community. We can be a shining example.”

As he has in multiple appearances since unveiling his biennial budget earlier this month, Kasich explained his plan for a small business and personal income tax cut, sales tax cut and broadening to include services and the oil and gas tax hike. He defended the latter to lawmakers, including Republican members who continue to voice concern about the proposal.

He also asked the GOP-controlled legislature to move quickly on his plan to leverage billions of dollars for road and bridge projects using the Ohio Turnpike.

He sought backing for his school funding package, which he said will provide increased state support for the poorest school districts. The richest districts, he said, would receive about $110 per pupil, while the poorest would receive $7,500 per pupil.

And he lobbied hard for an extension of Medicaid benefits for more needy Ohioans, saying federal dollars paid by Ohio taxpayers will go to another state if the eligibility levels are not raised.

“I’m not a supporter of Obamacare,” Kasich said, adding later, “I don’t believe in the individual mandate. I don’t like a lot of the programs that are going to drive insurance rates up. But in this case, extending Medicaid benefits will help us on many levels, including the positive impact this decision can have on the mentally ill and the addicted.”

Kasich urged lawmakers to stay focused on the “mountaintop” and move his two-year, $63 billion budget despite calls from opposition to abandon the tax package, school funding reform and other provisions.

“Should we rest on our laurels?” he asked. “... Should we put the state on cruise control? ... We’re going to keep our foot on the gas in this administration, and we hope you will join us. ... The only thing that will stop us, ladies and gentlemen, is the fear of change, the fear of big ideas. Let’s not go there.”

As he did last year, Kasich presented several “Courage Awards” Tuesday night, including one honoring the teachers and staff at Chardon High School with one of three Courage Medals, marking their response to a shooting last year that left three teens dead and three others injured.

“They’re unbelievable,” the governor said, drawing on memories of his own parents’ death. “It’s not easy there, even today. It’s still tough, and they’re trying to put the pieces back together. ... We know they’re never going to be quite the same. .... They’re going to heal... because they’re tough and compassionate and smart. They’re going to make it, but what courage they showed on that fateful day, and what courage they’ve shown ever since.”

Other medals went to the late Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut and first man to step onto the surface of the moon, and Sondra Williams, an autistic woman and author who serves as director of the Autism Research Institute’s youth division.

Mixed Reaction

Lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle were supportive of some of Kasich’s ideas but questioned others.

Republican leaders of the Ohio House and Senate were complimentary of the governor’s tone and vision but noncommittal on his tax reform, Medicaid expansion and school funding proposals.

“This is a man who is looking ahead to our state’s future,” said Speaker Bill Batchelder, a Republican from Medina. “I think it’s important that as he went through those remarks, everyone realized that there was bipartisan recognition of what he was asking for, and I think it was an exciting evening for all of Ohio.”

Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican from Celina whose district includes Lima, added, “It is always a pleasure to work with a governor who is willing to lead. You got to see a bit of John Kasich’s heart tonight. ... We’re going to study the governor’s proposals in great detail, great enthusiasm, and frankly, we look forward to working with the governor.”

Rep. Ron Amstutz, a Republican from Wooster who heads the powerful finance committee, called the speech “vintage Kasich.”

“He’s very full of energy and ideas,” he said. “He’s a strong leader. And generally, the legislative process works the best when we have a governor who is presenting a lot of ideas that we can work off. I think some of them will need shaped, but I think he’s given us a package of proposals that he addressed today that we can work with and help make the state better....”

Statehouse Democrats, meanwhile, remained supportive of Kasich’s plan to expand medical coverage and other services to the needy, but they remained opposed to other parts of his biennial budget.

“The tax cuts for small businesses is something that would be beneficial for our state,” said Sen. Joe Schiavoni, a Democrat from Boardman. “But when you add all this up and he says the most important thing is K-12 funding, the numbers don’t reflect that. It’s OK and it’s nice to give big happy speeches, but when you’ve got to go through a very detailed budget, I’m not sure he’s going to [gain approval for] all the things that he spoke about tonight.”

Rep. Ronald Gerberry, a Democrat from Austintown, echoed those concerns, saying schools in his district will have to seek more tax levies, with no increase in state funding.

“Well over 300 school districts are getting absolutely no [additional] money in the next two years,” he said. “How is K-12 so important if well over 300 school districts aren’t getting an extra dime? ... We’ve gone from 89 cents in the rainy day fund to $2 billion. At the same time, we have school districts and county governments and township governments throughout the state of Ohio placing tax levies because they’re broke.”

Rep. Bob Hagan, a Democrat from Youngstown, added, “The tax system that he’s trying to implement is so confusing. It’s all over the place ... Increasing sales tax is certainly going to hurt the people in my district.”

But some Mahoning Valley business representatives lent their support to Kasich’s plans.

“I believe the turnpike plan is a refreshing major step forward to maintain and improve our infrastructure, including local projects like the lane expansion of Interstate 80 in Mahoning and Trumbull counties,” said Tom Humphries, president & CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, in a statement issued Tuesday night. “This commitment to infrastructure will further cement Ohio’s reputation as one of the best states in the U.S. to do business.”

From the perspective of small business owners, Kasich’s plan to cut taxes is innovative and would serve to benefit everyone, according to Claudia Kovach, vice president of City Machine Technologies Inc.

“Reforms like this drive job creators to hire, invest and grow,” Kovach said in a written statement. “It’s clear the governor cares about small businesses and wants to see us succeed, not just because it helps us individually but because he knows a strong small business community is good for the entire state.”


1timOthy(802 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

"We take care of our neighbors"! I don't feel it . Roads are Worthless, Bridges horrible.
Ohio is in good shape but it's not because of this Man V&M Steel, Lordstown and Lorain Steel was done under Srtickland. The oil ad Gas leases was done by the people who own property. So how did Gov. Kasich help ?? I know American Greetings Cards he sent Thank you cards to his voters. Is all I know he did !

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2Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Please Gov. Go away ,please just Go away

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3liberty76(11 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The Governor's proposal to impose a sales tax on nearly every "sales transaction" in Ohio is a shell game that likely will not replace the revenue that will be lost as a result of more reductions in the State income tax. Ohio's progressive income tax has long been designed to place less of a tax burden on middle class and low income Ohioans. Expanding the sales tax , on the other hand, will disproportionately and negatively impact these residents. The sales tax proposal also expands a form of taxation that is extremely difficult to enforce and is already routinely skirted (as a result of cash transactions). In other words it will encourage more people to "cheat". Expanding the sales tax to numerous small businesses that currently are exempt from collecting sales tax accomplishes nothing other than adding new administrative burdens on those businesses (otherwise known as "job creators"). The Governor's tax proposal, like many other "great ideas" from his office, gives benefits to our wealthiest citizens while hurting those who can least afford it.

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4DwightK(1535 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

This plan to lease the turnpike is absurd. The road is well maintained, well managed and provides a useful service. If we need money for infrastructure improvements (and we do) sell bonds, raise fuel taxes or raise tolls on the turnpike.

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5walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Did you know that the state of Ohio income tax was nit implemented until 1972? Prior to that, the majority of revenue came from a 4% sales tax on non-food items. Now, it is added to almost everything, including repair services. Taxes just keep taking a bigger bite from everyone because gubmint just keeps growing.
The T-pike is not going to be leased; the state is leveraging the assets with a public bond sale to raise revenue for road and bridge work. Not the worst idea, sort of like a second mortgage. I was on the road yesterday and I have to agree with you. It is fantastically maintained and should never be leased.

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6liberty76(11 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

To the contrary Walter, the size of state government (number of employees) been shrinking for almost 20 years. Reducing the income tax while raising the sales tax will actually increase taxes for individuals who make less than $52,000/year. How's that fair?

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7redeye1(5615 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

liberty76 Anytime everyone has to pay taxes its fair in my mind. Why should only certain groups or classes of people not pay. Using bowling as an example, if you don't want to pay the tax dion't bowl As far as the other taxes like I said everyone gets to pay them. Fair is fair PERIOD!!!
As far as the Turnpike i also feel that , that is a great idea, its still run by Ohio and not some private company.

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8walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

If the number of employees are shrinking, why does govt revenue need to be increased? It is not just the quantity of employees in govt, it is the scope! That being said, I am not against increasing sales tax vs. income tax because there is a huge underground economy, drugs, vice, prostitution that can't be taxed via income tax. I'm all for increasing taxes on jewelry, especially electroplated gold, gold teeth caps, tattoos, rolling papers, auto neon, chrome spinning wheels, blunt cigars and anything else with the culture that pays no taxes but costs us plenty. ANd, believe it or not, I'm also in agreement with Buckwheat Bob about increasing the severance tax. This tax increase should be used for Ohio schools since it taxes an Ohio resource.

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9bmanresident(607 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Kasich has my almost full support in all his policies. If he cuts entitlement programs such as food stamps I will blindly back him 100 percent!!

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10Boar7734(66 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Kasich is really offering a modiied VAT tax (value added tax) or consumption tax. He is leading Ohio to tax all services and all products purchased. If that is the case we do not need any income tax at all in Ohio. More discussion is needed before we adopt this approach. Suggest readers look at Europe and how that has worked.

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11DSquared(1778 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

School budgets should be figured at the local level. Kasich 2016

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