The reception this week to Gov. John Kasich's series of state policy proposals has been much chillier than he must have been expecting. Among Kasich's proposals: holding back third-graders who can't read at grade level and to cut income taxes in favor of taxes on companies tapping into energy deposits in eastern Ohio.Republicans haven't rushed to embrace Kasich's proposals, while Democrats and many educators flat out oppose them. Some of the opposition on the income tax education makes sense, but Kasich is absolutely right about education.Pupils not reading at grade level by the end of the third grade would not be passed onto the fourth grade. This isn't controversial — save that educators believe Kasich is telling them how to do their jobs. Why would anyone want to advance a pupil who isn't ready to move on? And being unable to read at an appropriate level is the common-sense definition of not being ready to move to a higher — and tougher — grade and course of study.The alternative to Kasich's plan is to keep advancing students who keep falling further and further behind their peers. They are the students who, without such intervention as Kasich proposes, drop out or graduate far less prepared than they need to be.School officials don't like the emphasis that Kasich would place on state tests to determine whether a pupil were ready to advance. But teachers and other officials have been complaining about standardized testing since the beginning of standardized testing. The state contributes a significant part of school funding to local districts. The state has a vested interest in assuring students who will have to compete in a global marketplace can achieve some basic, necessary standards.Questions still remain about Kasich's idea to trade income taxes for fracking taxes. Both sides of the political aisle have reason to be skeptical.For example, what appreciable effect, if any, would such an income tax reduction have? Kasich would reduce income tax collection by as much as $1 billion when the companies doing the fracking reach full production in about five years? That $1 billion sounds like a lot, but it amounts to about one-tenth of Ohio's total annual income tax collection. State income taxes don't make up a huge part of an individual's total tax burden, so scaling them back a little more is unlikely to have a significant effect. The 21 percent cut that then-Gov. Bob Taft implemented with the General Assembly in 2005, which continued under Gov. Ted Strickland, did little to spur Ohio's economy. A savings of half that amount for taxpayers is supposed to do what?And at what cost? Would $1 billion in new taxes drive companies doing the fracking in eastern Ohio across the border? Local officials also have reason for concern. Kasich has to offer them reason to believe they won't lose more state funding if Ohio changes its tax collections.Lawmakers should demand these answers before making what could amount only to cosmetic changes for those paying the state's income tax.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.