After attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland to encourage business leaders to invest in Ohio and create jobs, Gov. Kasich is headed home to prepare for the unveiling of his state budget proposal. The Dispatch has more below:
DAVOS, Switzerland — Jet lag is not an option for Gov. John Kasich.
The Republican governor returns home today from the World Economic Forum following four hectic days recruiting business executives and investors to consider Ohio. What awaits him is a dizzying schedule of landmark events over the coming days, beginning this week with the unveiling of his K-12 school-funding formula.
The rest of Kasich’s proposed 2014-15 budget is due on Feb. 4, his State of the State address in Lima is on Feb. 19, and in between will surely be an untold number of events promoting his plans.
In a normal year, unveiling a much-anticipated school-funding formula, announcing a tax-cutting budget and giving a State of the State speech in a period of about 20 days would constitute a trying, pressure-packed month.
Embarking on his first overseas trip as governor and knowing that this will be the last full-fledged budget he proposes before he seeks re-election next year would only seem to compound the pressure, but Kasich insists that this breakneck period for him is consistent with the pace he has kept throughout his two years in office.
“The most important thing of the term is, we got out of the (budget) hole, we’re running surpluses, our credit has improved, we’re job-friendly and we’re developing a reputation,” Kasich said. “These individual policies are one thing, but it’s the overall change in attitude, the excitement. Things are popping.”
Among the key differences in this upcoming budget cycle for Kasich, compared with his first in 2011, is that this time, people know what to expect.
A cut in the state income tax — geared especially toward helping small businesses, Kasich said — will be paid for in part by Kasich’s proposal from 2012 to raise the severance tax on shale oil and gas drillers. He has hinted at possibly eliminating some sales-tax deductions and closing tax loopholes, and there could also be some surprises in his tax “reform” package. He said last week that he expects to end the fiscal year on June 30 with about $1 billion in the rainy-day fund.
Already-announced plans to leverage the Ohio Turnpike to pay for road projects and increase the amount of public funding for higher-education that’s tied to graduation rates also will be included in his proposals in eight days.
“These are not things in a 10-second sound bite you can just describe,” Kasich said. “But they’r e exciting — they’re very exciting — so we have lots to discuss.”
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