News Release: What We Hope Governor Kasich Will (And Won’t) Say In The State Of The State Speech

For Immediate Release:
March 7, 2011

Contact:  Dale Butland
614-783-5833

WHAT WE HOPE GOV. KASICH WILL (AND WON’T) SAY IN THE STATE OF THE STATE SPEECH

Columbus—Janetta King, President of Innovation Ohio, a progressive public policy think tank headquartered in Columbus, today offered some thoughts on Gov. John Kasich’s upcoming “State of the State” speech tomorrow.

“Like all Ohioans, we at Innovation Ohio wish the Governor well in his first State of the State speech.  We hope he and his Administration succeed.  After all, if our Governor succeeds, our state succeeds –and we are all Ohioans before we are anything else.

“Traditionally, State of the State speeches are thematic and give the Governor an opportunity to lay out  both his vision for the future and the direction in which he intends to take the state in his budget and policy proposals yet to come.

“With due respect, here are a few things we hope Gov. Kasich’s speech and budget will include –and some we hope he will avoid.”

What Gov. Kasich’s Speech Should Do
  • Inspire and Unite: Above all else, Gov. Kasich’s speech should inspire hope and bring our people together.  Ohioans have suffered enormously during The Great Recession.  We fully understand how hard things are and what a difficult time we are in.  Berating our state’s competitiveness or bemoaning the jobs that have already been lost is unnecessary and counterproductive.  Ohioans want to know how Gov. Kasich intends to help create new jobs and enhance opportunity for all Ohioans. We need to see a leader who believes in Ohio—and in us.
  • Position Ohio for the Future: Gov. Kasich should outline a policy agenda that builds on Ohio’s strengths and positions our state for the 21st century.  As our nation emerges from the recession, states which are unafraid to make smart, long-term investments and adopt innovative, forward-looking policies will be best situated to compete, prosper and thrive in the decades ahead.
  • Endorse Fairness and Shared Sacrifice: Ohioans are all in this together.  If sacrifice is required, Gov. Kasich must reassure us that everyone will be asked to share in it.  He should tell us that no less will be asked of the wealthy than will be asked of the middle class and the least advantaged.  In a word, the Governor should show us that he believes in fairness.
What Gov. Kasich Should Not Do
  • Don’t Make Unemployment Worse: Like physicians who take the Hippocratic oath, the Governor should “first, do no harm.”  Ohioans elected Mr. Kasich to help create new jobs, not attack workers or pursue a partisan political agenda that will destroy existing jobs.  Throwing even more people out of work –through policies that result in lay-offs for thousands of police, teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employees –risks stalling the fragile economic recovery that has finally begun in Ohio.
  • Don’t Make the Deficit Worse: Closing an $8 billion deficit will be hard enough; Gov. Kasich should not stubbornly insist on even more tax cuts (including eliminating the estate tax for wealthy Ohioans) that will only decrease revenue, swell the deficit further, and subject the middle class and the most vulnerable Ohioans to even more painful budget cuts to make up the difference.  Similarly, pursuing policies that jeopardize or cause Ohio to forfeit federal transportation or education funding will only deepen our budget problems.
  • Don’t Pass The Buck to Local Governments: It is being reported that Gov. Kasich intends to slash local government funding –which pays for police, firefighters, libraries and other important community services—by up to 50%.  But this would only shift the burden from the state to local communities and force them to raise local taxes to pay for these services.  Reducing state taxes but increasing local taxes by the same or a larger amount isn’t a tax cut at all.  It’s a shell game.  And shell games are for street-corner hustlers, not Governors of great states like Ohio.
  • Don’t Eat Ohio’s Seed Corn for the Future: Ohio can’t create long-term, good-paying jobs or hope to compete in the 21st century economy without a skilled and well-educated workforce.  Draconian cuts in K-12 school funding or policies which lead to sky-rocketing college tuition bills and make getting a higher education even harder for middle class families are the very definition of “penny-wise and pound foolish.” Philosophically, “equal opportunity for all” is something on which conservatives and progressives should be able to agree.  But equal opportunity cannot be achieved by starving the education system that provides it.

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