PDT Staff Writer
Gov. John Kasich delivered his annual State of the State address in Lima, Ohio Tuesday night. Among those in attendance were State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson and Ohio Senator Joe Uecker, who had mixed reactions on the ideas being proposed.
“He’s a dynamic speaker and has certain bragging rights for what he’s done so far to help turn Ohio around. His budget is pretty comprehensive and made up of about three main topics,” Uecker said.
According to a report by the Associated Press Kasich’s State of the State address came down to three central ideas, a plan to overhaul the state’s school funding plan, an expansion of Medicaid under the federal health reform law and an overhaul in his $63.2 billion, two-year budget of the state’s tax structure.
“I like what he’s doing with education. I’m just having a difficult time with the expansion of the tax rewrite and I’m having difficulties with the Medicaid expansion,” Uecker said. “We do have a number of people who are under the radar, when it comes to Medicaid and we need to help them. I just don’t think, his proposed Medicaid expansion as I see it today, is the best way to achieve helping others without dragging the rest of us down.”
Uecker said at this point the governor’s budget is only preliminary and will be left up to the legislature to approve.
“Now the House (of representatives) has got to work on it and who knows what it will look like when it comes to the Senate for consideration,” Uecker said.
Johnson saw the speech as bringing Ohioans together.
“The State of the State address is a time for all elected members of state government the House, the Senate and state wide offices to come together in unity as Ohioans and take stock in where we are and where we are going,” Johnson said. “There are different opinions on this (proposed budget and ideas) but, I think all agree putting Ohioans back to work, cleaning up the devastating problems of drugs and crime and poor health, will set Ohio back on a path to true greatness and is in the best interest of all.”
Johnson called the governor’s budget bold and will take a lot of work.
“A lot of people are upset, a lot of people are happy and we will have to work our way through this. My job is to not agree with the governor, my job is to carve out what’s the very best possible course for my district,” Johnson said.
Attending the State of the State address as guests of Johnsons were Scioto County Republican Co-Chair Billy Whittaker and Communications Co-Chair Bryan Davis.
“The speech was great and he often reached out in a spirit of unity among state legislatures. He was also pitching some tough ideas, in regards to school funding, Medicare and fixing roads and bridges,” Davis said. “He really reached out and made his case to both sides as to why we need to do some of these things.”
Davis said some of Kasich’s past budgetary decisions have not help locally.
“I pray that brighter days are ahead. I think he, generally wants to do the right thing as far as school funding. You are not going to be all things to all people. In order to fix the budget and to keep us out of a budget deficit, these decisions have to be made,” Davis said. “In my opinion, Ohio has been leading the way and setting the model for the rest of the United States.”
He said one of the greatest examples is the state’s rainy day fund that had only cents in it two and a half years ago and according to estimates, will have $1.9 billion in it as the end of the fiscal year.
Whittaker said he was impressed with the speech Kasich gave.
“I was appreciative of his recognition of God and the need for God, I have a lot of respect for that,” Whittaker said. “As far as the ideas being proposed, we are all not going to agree on everything regardless if we are in the same party or not. There is always going to be differences but, if we can work together and work through those differences I think we can make Ohio better.”
Whittaker said the ideas Kasich is proposing are bold and hopes if they are brought to fruition, they can better the community.
Kasich’s budget will now be sent to the Ohio House of Representatives for consideration. Once passed in the house, it will be sent to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. If approved it will be sent to Kasich to be signed into law.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org