Governor Touts Ohio Economy, Democrats See Trickle Down
MEDINA â Gov. John Kasich laid out his ambitious plans for the coming months in his annual State of the State address, which touted proposed tax cuts, education reform and smoking cessation programs. Kasich touted his tax cuts, and said he wants the top income tax rate to be below 5 percent â which he said would be a way to grow jobs while keeping the stateâs fiscal house in order. He announced a few other new proposals â one called Community Connections, to bring together schools, parents, community and faith based groups, and business leaders with students to halt the dropout rate, now at 24,000 students each year. Follow @KarenKasler on Twitter for more Statehouse News
âWeâre going to ask you, the legislature, to take the $10 million from casino receipts, and weâre going to ask you to create a program that will give these communities a $3 match for every dollar they put in to build these mentoring efforts,â? says Kasich. Kasich also said he wanted to put $35 million in new tobacco settlement money into programs to help tobacco users quit, and he wants more opportunities for high school students to take college courses for credit. And he ended his State of the State as he has other big speeches â by blasting partisan efforts to criticize him. And he also seemed to take on the suspicions that he wants to run for president.
Iâm the governor of all of Ohio, and itâs my duty to serve everyone. This is my life and this is my mission
But as expected, Democratic lawmakers who heard the speech were not impressed. Statehouse reporter Andy Chow was in Medina for the speech and talked to some of them. Just minutes after hearing the address, top Democratic leaders in the General Assembly admitted that there were some points they liked hearing, such as encouraging minority businesses and fighting drug addiction. But House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard of Columbus says the governorâs speech lacked details. âIâm hearing more about trickle down economics, hearing a lot about tax cuts but not any that are directed toward the middle class, I heard that he recognized that was a need but if weâre going to continue to make those tax cuts for the top 1 percent. "Iâm not sure how weâre going to create that disposable income thatâs going to stimulate the economy and cause businesses to create more jobs,â? Maxwell said. Democratic Senator Charleta Tavares, also of Columbus, says itâs not possible for the governor to cut the income tax and still support all of the projects he laid out. âUnless youâre going to raise them in another area or force local governments to raise taxes as has been happening over the last three years. Weâve had local communities having to raise income taxes â Columbus raised income taxes â surrounding communities around Columbus have raised income taxes,â? says Tavares. But Republican Representative Lynn Wachtmann from Napoleon says Ohio needs this tax cut. âThe governorâs right on target. When you raise taxes you hurt people â when you lower taxes you lift people up â allowing them to keep more of their own money â take their own initiative â make their own investments â instead of government determining what their future is,â? says Wachtmann. Following the address â the governorâs office said they are keeping some of the details under wraps until they release their budget update called the mid-biennium review. That includes how they plan to fund the income tax cut and early education efforts. At a little over an hour, it was John Kasichâs shortest State of the State. And it was certainly the most surprising â for one reason. And it wasnât political. âIâm humbled to present the 2014 Ohio Courage Medals to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight â three extraordinary women,â? Kasich said. It was the first time the three Cleveland women held captive for over a decade by Ariel Castro were seen together publicly since their escape. Much of Kasichâs speech touched on inspirational themes of lifting up, looking forward and surviving tough times.
We are not hopeless â we are hopeful. We are not wandering â we have direction