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Government and Politics

Ohio's Gov. Kasich pushes his stalled budget plan in Cleveland
The proposed tax changes and Medicaid expansion are drawing fire from Democrats and Republicans

Kevin Niedermier
Gov. Kasich is surrounded by members of his administration at the Cleveland City Club today. They talked about the governor's budget proposal.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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In The Region:

Gov. John Kasich concedes his budget proposal’s tax reform plan is a hard sell. But at the Cleveland City Club today he insisted his mix of tax cuts and increases are crucial to keeping Ohio’s economy moving forward.

Gov. Kasich highlighted the state’s improving economy with its unemployment numbers below the national rate. But he contends the momentum will die if businesses look elsewhere because of Ohio tax rates.

He does propose boosting the state’s tax on oil companies taking advantage of Ohio’s new fracking opportunities. But he wants to cut personal income taxes by 20 percent and small business taxes by 50 percent.

“If you’re a florist in Cleveland and make $30,000 a year, you would pay taxes on $15,000. ... Small businesses hire the most people, not the big companies. We want to make sure small businesses can grow and hire more people.

"The thing you should know about tax reform is this motto: don’t tax me, tax the man behind the tree.”

Kasich’s sale tax expansion call regressive by some state law makers
Kasich’s plan also includes cutting the state sales tax from 5.5 percent to 5 percent. But he wants to extend the reduced tax into nearly all services, including things like cable television and tickets to sporting events and concerts.

Democratic State Rep. Vernon Sykes of Akron says this is where the governor is meeting the most resistance.

“That’s because it’s regressive and will have a negative impact on businesses and the community at large. I think the Medicaid expansion is one of the good parts of the budget, and we hope it’ll stay intact and be passed.”

Kasich is fighting with fellow Republicans over his plan to expand Medicaid to cover more of the state’s low-income residents. He says this, and his plan to increase education funding in kindergarten through 12th grade by more than $1 billion are also key to the state’s future economic and social health.                                                                                                                       
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