By Marc Kovac
Gov. John Kasich urged an audience of newspaper people Thursday to rein in their cynicism of public servants.
“I think healthy skepticism is good,” the governor told attendees of the Ohio Newspaper Association annual convention in Columbus. “But cynicism about all things that happen in public life is not.”
He added, “If everything that people read is negative, how do you expect them to ever get up in the morning and have a good attitude about anything?”
Kasich used the ONA event to review his work in office to date — tackling an $8 billion budget hole, cutting tax rates, focusing on education in general and career exploration for Ohio’s youngsters in particular, and battling the state’s prescription-drug and heroin epidemic.
He offered a few hints of policies that could be included in his coming mid-biennium review, which is expected to be introduced in coming weeks.
He defended JobsOhio, the private nonprofit he and lawmakers created to spearhead the state’s economic- development efforts.
And he announced his intentions to “actively push” a federal balanced-budget amendment in other states, after Ohio lawmakers’ adoption of a related resolution late last year.
“The debt is holding us back,” he said. “The uncertainty about what we do about it is holding us back. ... Businesses are so uncertain about the future that they’re either buying back stock or reducing debt, and the value of those companies has risen but we’re not seeing the kind of employment, we’re not seeing the kind of investment that we would normally see.”
Kasich briefly reiterated his support for an increase in taxes on oil and gas produced via horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
But he added that he isn’t going to pick a fight with Republican lawmakers who oppose his frack-tax proposal and are offering a different plan.
“I don’t want to be like Obama,” he said. “I don’t want to have executive orders because I can’t get anything through the Legislature.”