Governor Kasich's State of the State - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Governor Kasich's State of the State

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MEDINA, Ohio - Applause and a standing ovation welcomed Ohio Governor John Kasich to Medina's Performing Arts Center, as those against fracking and his stance on other issues stood outside in protest.

But nothing stopped the Republican Governor from delivering his message focused on three years of accomplishments, including the creation of 170,000 jobs statewide, and an administration that has taken the budget from a deficit to a surplus.

"We made tough choices and we got our budget back in shape. We turned around that historic $8-billion shortfall, and now we have $1.5-billion in our surplus fund in the state of Ohio and positive credit outlooks," Governor Kasich told the crowded auditorium.

The Republican Governor, who is up for re-election in November, touted that his administration has made 50% cuts in small business taxes, and cut income taxes by 10%.

For 2014, Governor Kasich is proposing reducing the tax rate to below 5 percent, an effort to grow the economy by putting more money back in the pockets of the working class.

"We didn't let state government try to paper over problems with higher taxes, but instead, we solved them so Ohioans can keep more of their own money and businesses have certainty so they can create jobs," Governor Kasich said.

And along with focusing on the economy and jobs, Kasich introduced new, ambitious plans for education, including vocational education as early as 7th grade, a drop-out prevention program, and a Community Connectors mentoring program involving parents, businesses and the community, to help students develop skills for the workplace.

"We're going to ask you the legislature to take the $10-million from casino receipts, and we're going to ask you to create a program that will give these communities a $3 match for every $1 they put in to build these mentoring efforts," the Governor said.

A road map for 2014, and an effort Governor Kasich hopes will bring communities together to build a better Ohio.

But Valley Democrats argue that the Governor is offering ambitious ideas without the budget behind them.  State Representative Bob Hagan says, "I think what you're seeing is Houdini politics.  He can't continually cut taxes like he wants to do and offer programs, over and over and over against, it just can't be done.  I think we've seen it in the last administration with Taft, when he cut 21% in taxes, saying he would create jobs - in fact, no job were created.  It's the same thing."

State Representative Ron Gerberry, representing the 59th District, called Governor Kasich's speech, one of the worst he's ever heard.  "We are facing tremendous challenges in the state.  I didn't hear one word about fixing local government funding.  I didn't hear a word about fixing school funding.  Let's look at Youngstown State University.  Last week they're going to impose a 2.4% tuition increase.  Why do you think that's happening?  It's because the State of Ohio is not doing it's job, and we have a Governor that wants to stand up here, and act as though we're moving in the right direction.  You know what, we're moving backwards," Representative Gerberry said.

 

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