In State of the State, Kasich touts improved economy - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

In State of the State, Kasich touts improved economy, local leaders react

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LIMA, Ohio - Governor John Kasich described an improved economic outlook in Ohio since he took office during his State of the State Address on Tuesday saying more than 120,000 jobs have been created.

Kasich also defended his proposed tax plan in his speech at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima.

In his third State of the State Address, Kasich pitched his proposed budget plan to cut income and sales tax rates and taxes on small businesses.

"When you tell them that you are reducing taxes and reducing the taxes on income, they get it," Kasich said. "It sends a message and a signal that Ohio's open for business and at the same time, we killed the death tax."

The plan also broadens the sales tax base and increases the severance tax for high-volume oil and gas driller's fracking in Utica shale, which has drawn criticism from the oil and gas industry.

"Twenty cents on a $90 barrel of oil. It's not sustainable," Kasich said.

He also touted legislation created with Mahoning Valley legislators.

"Well [Democratic State Representative Sean O'Brien, Ohio 63rd District] wants all these amendments.  I said we'll give them to him.  Let's pass the darn thing and we've got the best rules and regulations in the country on fracking," Kasich said.

State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D) of the 33rd District said "We're always going to have things like this illegal dumping with this Lupo incident and we're taking care of that as well. We're going to put more stringent laws in place."

"I talked to the governor before the State of the State, he's going to help me with that. He's going to put some amendments into the bill that I've put together with [Sen. Frank Larose-R] from Akron so we can move that forward. So we can show people this isn't something we're going to tolerate in the state of Ohio," Schiavoni said.

State Representative Bob Hagan (D) of the 58th District also said stricter rules need to be in place and he would like to see the proceeds from an even higher severance tax go back into the communities where drilling is taking place.

Hagan said he is offering a 7.5% oil and gas severance tax rate because other states are doing it successfully.

The governor's proposal to expand Medicaid under the new federal health care law has also drawn criticism from his own party.

"For those that live in the shadows of life, those who are the least among us, I will not accept the fact that the most vulnerable in our state should be ignored. We can help them and I want all of you to think about this," Kasich said.

State Senator Capri Cafaro (D) of the 32nd District appreciated Kasich's stance but believes more must be done.

"It took a lot of courage but it's also going to take bipartisan support to get that through and so I am very cautiously optimistic that Democrats and Republicans alike will recognize wisdom in expanding Medicaid," said Cafaro.

21 News political analyst Dr. William Binning said Kasich kicked off his campaign for re-election with the speech. He said Kasich reached way beyond the conservative base on the Medicaid issue, trying to sell the plan to his own party and using it as something that could become a campaign issue in the upcoming gubernatorial race.

Before the governor's speech, a little more than a dozen people, including educator Dan Greenberg from Toledo, held a pro-labor rally on the town square across the street from the convention center.

Greenberg was specifically against Kasich's school funding plan. Instead of Kasich's policies, Greenberg praised President Obama's work with the auto bailout.

Shonda Sneed, an unemployed worker in the field of engineering in Yellow Springs, said she hasn't been able to get a job with a small firm and a UAW worker at the Ford Motor Engine Plant in Lima, Dave Rabe, credited the UAW and the "Big 3" for an uptick in manufacturing jobs.

A little more than a dozen people gathered in support of Kasich's policies regarding jobs. They shouted "O-H-I-O Go John Go!" and held signs saying "Kasich = Jobs" and "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

Anna Hoard, a sophomore at Ohio Northern University, said she organized the rally to show support for Kasich's education plan, especially his proposal to focus on colleges and universities' graduation numbers rather than enrollment numbers and a tuition cap.

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