Yesterday evening, Governor John Kasich delivered his annual State of the State address in Medina. From the Third Base Politics blog, here are some highlights:
· Kasich reiterated familiar points of his record, including the $8 billion shortfall he faced, 350,000 lost jobs and 89 cents left in the rainy day fund. Since then, Ohio has added 170,000 jobs and added $1.5 billion to the surplus fund while cutting taxes $3 billion and killing the death tax.
· He said that JobsOhio is beginning to hit its stride. CEO magazine says that Ohio has the most improved business climate and touted Nestle CEO’s praise of the JobsOhio staff. They recently announced to move of 250 jobs from Chicago to Solon.
· Kasich proposed a further round of tax cuts to finally get Ohio’s income tax rate below 5%. He said that $12 billion have left Ohio for states with lower income taxes since 1995.
· Education was a major part of the governor’s speech, touting that last year the increase in state aid to schools was the largest in a decade.
· The next challenge to address, he says, is the dropout rate in Ohio. 24,000 Ohio kids drop out of school every year, often leading to poverty. He proposes programs with 2-year colleges to make it easier for people to come back and get their high school diplomas. He wants to use casino receipts to create matching funds for communities and schools to create mentoring programs for students to help them succeed. He also believes we need to refocus on vocational education and bring vocational education down to kids as young as 7th grade.
· He said that Ohio will be leading the nation by distributing money to universities based on classes completed and degree awarded, not just based on enrollment. He called for a statewide program for high school students to be able to earn college credits while still in high school.
· The most emotional moment was when Governor Kasich presented the Ohio Medal of Courage to Amanda Berry, Gina deJesus and Michelle Knight, the three women who were help captive by a Cleveland man for nearly a decade. The three women received the longest and loudest ovation of the evening.
Libertarian candidate for Governor Charlie Earl comments and criticism of the SOTS is here.
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