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Kasich vow to continue cutting state income-tax

Published: Tue, February 25, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.


Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address Monday at the Performing Arts Center in Medina.

By Marc Kovac



Gov. John Kasich vowed to further cut income-tax rates, create job-training and career-development opportunities to youngsters at risk of dropping out of school and offer college credits for veterans for training they received during their service.

A few Mahoning Valley Democrats, however, strongly criticized the governor’s vision for Ohio’s future.

State Rep. Robert Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, called the governor’s program proposals “Houdini politics.”

“You can’t continuously say you’re cutting taxes and offering programs. It doesn’t work,” Hagan said.

Rep. Ronald Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th, said, “I’m disappointed. We have schools that are putting ballot issue after ballot issue after ballot issue [before voters]. We have counties that are saying, ‘Help us.’ We have townships going broke. And what are we doing? Are we addressing in any way ... local governments? No. Are we addressing school funding? No. We’re going to now fund seventh-grade vocational education. We’re not funding career education now.”

Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, the Senate’s minority leader, said the governor’s “actions don’t match the words that he spoke tonight.”

In his fourth State of the State address, before an audience of lawmakers and invited guests here, the governor offered a message of hope for better things to come.

“The clouds are beginning to move apart,” Kasich said near the start of his hour-plus speech. “The sun is beginning to break through and to shine its bright light on that summit. ... We are not hopeless. We are not wandering. We have direction.”

He added later, “I hope you’ll stay with me on the path as we go higher. … The state of the state is stronger, more hopeful, more optimistic, more exciting and more confident here in the state of Ohio.”

Monday’s night’s address marked the third time Kasich took his annual address to a joint session of the state Legislature on the road.

He picked Medina this year, the hometown of Republican Speaker Bill Batchelder, who will cap more than four decades of service when his final term ends this year.

Kasich also presented “Courage Awards,” to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, three Cleveland women who were kidnapped and held captive for a decade before their rescue last year.

State of the State

Kasich offered a familiar narrative of the state’s progress under his administration — going from an $8 billion hole in the budget, 350,000-some lost private sector jobs and 89 cents in the rainy-day fund to $1.5 billion in the rainy-day fund, 170,000-plus new private-sector jobs, tax cuts and business-friendly policies.

The governor touted billions of dollars in funding for road, bridge and infrastructure projects, his expansion of Medicaid eligibility to provide health care to more needy residents and increased efforts to crack down on human trafficking.

Kasich also praised JobsOhio, the private nonprofit that is heading the state’s economic development efforts and the focus of criticism for its behind-closed-doors workings.

The governor voiced a continuing commitment to keep the state’s “fiscal house in order,” and to cut Ohio’s tax rates to less than 5 percent, the latter accomplished through an increase in taxes on oil and gas produced via horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

Additionally, the governor urged lawmakers to sign off on a program that will provide free college credits for veterans to account for training they received during their years in the service.

Earlier Monday, some other Democratic legislators from the Valley, weighed in on what they wanted to hear from Kasich about how he will improve the state’s economy.

Ohio’s unemployment rate is on the rise and higher than the national average, said state Rep. Nick Barborak of Lisbon, D-5th.

In 2013, the state’s unemployment rate increased from 6.7 percent to 7.2 percent. The national rate is 6.6 percent.

State Rep. Tom Letson of Warren, D-64th, said Kasich has promised a business-friendly atmosphere, but the tax bill approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Kasich — which included a 0.25 percent state sales tax increase and expansion — is devastating families.

Contributor: David Skolnick, staff writer


1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

These democrats make my head spin. They complain because Kasich cut taxes, then Letson complains because Kasich raised taxes.

Local communities are supposed to fund more of the services that they provide. Local levies are a good thing. If the people in the community want that service then the pay for it directly.

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2NoBS(2645 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Are our state taxes being reduced? Are they being reduced enough to offset the large rise in local taxes being imposed to shore up the services the local governments can no longer fund on their own?

And JobsOhio is still breaking the law - they accept taxpayer money, so by law they must open their books for public inspection as to how that money is being spent.

Kasich infuriated a majority of Ohioans when he first took office, and many of them still have no use for Kasich. If the Dems could have found a qualified individual with actual name recognition to run against him, Kasich would certainly be a one-termer. As things are, it's going to be a close election. And that means we're going to be buried alive in political rhetoric in the coming months.

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3dontbeafool(1916 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Wouldn't the same be said then of Republicans? The Gov is preaching on lowering taxes, meanwhile he signed into law a tax increase of .25 % and expansion? Why isn't your head spinning about that?

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4redeye1(5512 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

How is a quarter percent sales tax increase devastating families. ?

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5rickking123(330 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Gee, here I thought Houdini politics was when your magician and state rep. Bob Hagan goes into the magic box and presto chango out comes Michele Lepore Hagan as your state rep.

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6UNCOMMONSENSE(601 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

All Kasich did was shift the tax burden to the local communities. He raised the state sales tax, cut the local communities share and you are left to pay both.

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7JoeFromHubbard(1714 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago


As much as I like tax cuts, I have to agree that this is basically a shell game with tax revenue sources being shifted around.

Have you ever seen a government, especially at state level or above, reduce its ranks and services in a meaningful way to reduce the revenue demand?

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8dontbeafool(1916 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Coming from Mr. Positive Eivo, that is funny!

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9DSquared(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Local communities SHOULD pay for the level of service that THEY want for their own backyards. If you want to build palaces for your local schools, swimming pools, high end stadiums and arenas with all the bells and whistles, Then YOU pay for it with YOUR money, not the guy on the other side of the state's money! Sounds fair!

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10JoeFromHubbard(1714 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago


You've got a good point but real estate tax is so engrained in government that it will never disappear.

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11redeye1(5512 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

I was really hoping that Gov. Kasich was going tell us how he was going to cut welfare and all of the other freebie programs that cost us a bundle to keep up. But NO ! he didn't do that. Maybe if the demoncrats have or had better ideas, they could have or should brought them up. But NO, they haven'[t or won't. All they want is for the freebie programs to continue

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