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Republicans are looking for job promises in Gov. Kasich's tax shift
Tonight's speech also reverses the usual course of State of State speech first and budget later

Bill Cohen
Gov. Kasich usually has strong backing from GOP lawmakers, but some are awaiting answers from tonight's State of State address.
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Ohio legislators are awaiting Gov. John Kasich’s annual state-of-the-state address. It’s set for tonight in Lima. What are lawmakers hoping to hear in his speech? That’s the question statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen has been asking.

COHEN: State of State expectations

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COHEN: State of State expectations, abridged

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Democrats and Republicans are expecting Ohio’s governor to make job creation, his proposed two-year state budget and his proposed tax overhaul the highlights of his talk tonight.

Gov. John Kasich has proposed a trimming Ohio’s 5.5 percent state sales tax to 5 percent even. But he also wants to broaden the tax to apply to dozens of other services, from cable TV to haircuts.

The overall increase in tax revenue from those changes would pay for an even bigger slash in the graduated state income tax – a 20 percent cut for families, 50 percent for many small businesses.

GOP lawmakers seem to love the idea of yet another income tax cut, but Republican State Rep. Nan Baker of Cuyahoga County isn’t so enthusiastic about the sales tax being broadened. She’s been a cheerleader for creating jobs, but she’s telling  her fellow Republican Kasich, “Use your speech to convince me this tax package will do it.”

“I need to understand it thoroughly and I need to connect the dots to see why it is that raising sales tax by broadening the sales tax (even while) lowering it overall helps us create a better environment. I’m open-minded, but also cautious.”

Another Republican state representative, Mike Duffy, notes that Kasich has switched the usual order of things this year.

“This is going to be his first State of the State address in which it comes after he’s already proposed a budget. So what people are going to be looking for is details on what he’s already proposed, because that’s what we’re all looking for right now is details.”

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