The Lima News
John Kasich arrives in Lima today as one of the most popular governors in the United States, an amazing fete given the contentious fight he lost less than a year ago to state’s labor unions on a ballot referendum.
A poll by the Washington Post showed 52 percent of registered Ohio voters now approve of Kasich’s job performance, compared to 37 percent who disapprove. His splits are even better — 56 percent positive and 31 percent negative — among independents. Those are Kasich’s best numbers in any poll since his inauguration in January 2011.
All of that is proof that when the economy is doing well, any previous sin can be forgiven.
Look for Kasich tonight to pound on points such as Ohio’s low unemployment. In two years, he’s taken the state from double-digit jobless rates to being one of the top five job-creating states in the nation.
While there is no doubt Kasich has the state moving in the right direction, he continues to find a way to play hop-scotch with land mines. Evidence is his plans for taxes, school funding and Medicaid.
The governor has a lot of explaining to do on school funding. Local school officials were excited about his plan — “Achievement Everywhere” — when the governor addressed them in late January. Now, they’ve had a chance to look at the real numbers and are less optimistic that the governor has solved Ohio’s school-funding problems.Those numbers show 60 percent, or nearly 400 of the state’s 612 school districts, will not get any additional funds. Locally, that includes Allen East, Bluffton, Perry, Spencerville and all schools in Putnam County. Meanwhile, a wealthy district like Shawnee has ended up with a 31.4 increase in funding.
His ideas for taxes and Medicaid have many Republicans cowering behind the nearest tree. Kasich’s sweeping tax proposals include the lowering and broadening of the sales tax. To cut the income tax from 5.5 to 5 percent, he’s pushing new taxes on services such as hair cuts, legal services and advertising. They also fear Kasich’s justifiable expansion of Medicaid. Their fear is that by not opposing it, they are inviting primary-election challenges from tea partiers.
As popular as the new governor has become, it could be short-lived. He understands that, making tonight’s State of the State address especially interesting.