LIMA — Ohio Governor John Kasich rallied with the Allen County Republican Party Monday night at the University of Northwestern Ohio Event Center but first paid a visit to members of the Lima Area Chamber of Commerce.
Kasich bounced between a great range of topics before business owners at the Shawnee Country Club. He opened his remarks by focusing on what may be the state’s most pressing issue — jobs.
“We’ve had 400,000 jobs lost in the last four years — more jobs lost in any state except for California and Michigan. How’s that possible? We live in Ohio, you know? Worst state in America, except for Michigan and California,” he said. “One-third of college graduates leave the state after three years — that’s our seed corn. The young people; you don’t have any future.”
“Our entrepreneurs, the best and the brightest, when it comes time for them to cash in some of what they’ve built up over their lifetime, they pay capital gain taxes at 15 percent at the federal level but if they live in Florida, they pay a total of 15 percent but if they live in Ohio, they pay 21 percent. Which would you rather pay to the government? These are great issues. If you want to meet an Ohio job creator, you go to Naples, Fla.”
Kasich went on to connect job loss with the state’s budget deficit.
“I come in and we’ve got this $8 billion hole. So, I said we weren’t going to raise taxes. People said that’s not possible. The reason we couldn’t raise taxes is if you want to bring jobs to a place, you can’t bring them there if your costs are high. If your costs are high, they will go to where their costs are low. I know this — not just from being in business for 10 years but I also know it because we have to negotiate agreements with companies that are thinking of coming here and they never said ‘raise my costs, please.’ They always say ‘what are you going to give me so I can reduce my costs so I can be more successful?’ So, raising taxes is not an option,” Kasich said.
The governor went on to comment on creating a leadership team that can think creatively, using long-term care as an example.
“Some people need to be in nursing homes but what we said is if mom and dad qualify for a nursing home but want to stay in their own home, they should be able to. By the way, it’s a fifth of the cost. That’s a philosophy of providing a better product at a lower price. That always works,” he said.
“Now, we have adequate funding for the nursing homes and we’re also promoting community and home health care at a fifth of the cost. Someone’s shaking their head; that’s because we’re involved in change now. Change is hard. People don’t want to think differently but we’re getting there.”
Kasich briefly touched on a litany of subjects from prisons to school vouchers. He said he and his Republican friends in the general assembly have made 60,000 school vouchers available over the next two years. Huffman’s House bill that would change the program’s criteria has not been approved by both chambers and signed into law.
Kasich talked about various projects from The Dannon Company planting the third largest yogurt-producing facility in the world in Minster; Marathon Petroleum Corporation remaining in Findlay; and Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers moving it’s home offices back to Dublin from Atlanta.
Kasich said he has visited and is in “constant communication” with the “big three” auto manufacturers in Detroit. Kasich said Ford Motor Corporation recognizes his efforts to make Ohio more business-friendly but the matter is difficult. The company is expected to bring a new 6-cylinder engine production line to the Lima Ford Engine Plant in 2012 that will provide several-hundred new jobs to the area.
He also talked about balancing the budget, “killing” the so-called death tax and the late Steve Jobs firing 3,000 people when he took over at Apple. Kasich said Ohio has not had to do that because the state has reduced work forces through retiring and attrition.