The Lima News
Forget about all those zingers that we’ve tossed at Ohio Gov. John Kasich for not visiting this part of the state very often. On Friday, Kasich announced he not only will be coming our way in a few weeks, but that he plans to bring the entire General Assembly with him. They’ll sit down at the Civic Center on Feb. 19, with Kasich delivering the annual State of the State address.
It is hard to overstate the significance of such an event for Lima. It is huge, if for no other reason than promotional value. All 132 state lawmakers, the governor and lieutenant governor and members of the cabinet will be on our turf where they can receive a firsthand look at Allen County’s available economic development sites, work force, businesses and manufacturers.
The Republican governor will arrive in Lima with his highest approval rating since taking office four years ago. It couldn’t have come at a better time politically since Ed FitzGerald, a popular Democrat in the Cleveland area, may soon announce his intentions to run against Kasich.
We find it interesting that Kasich is pushing for an evening time to address Ohioans, obviously hoping to make his message available to more people. We see the governor pressing several things:
• Jobs and the economy will top the list. Kasich will reach out to the state’s work force with job retraining programs and to offer companies help through regulatory reform. He no doubt will review his private-public JobsOhio program.
• Tax reform also will be high on the list. There’s talk of lowering the income tax, but broadening the base. That is another way of saying you’re paycheck will be taxed less, but you may be paying tax in other ways.
• School funding remains a hot topic, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kasich roll out his long-awaited plan.
We think Kasich may have started an exciting tradition in delivering the State of the State outside the capital. As the governor says, it shines a light on the success stories across the Buckeye state. Since January 2011, Allen County has experienced strong economic improvement, including an increase of 2,000 jobs in the Lima metropolitan area. Over the same amount of time, Allen County has gone from 10.8 percent unemployment down to 6.7 percent.
Those numbers not only speak well for the county, but they reflect Ohio’s strong economic resurgence.