Ohio legislators agreed Tuesday to the governor's request to for a change of address for his Feb. 7 State of the State address.
That address is 420 N. 4th St., Steubenville, the location of Wells Academy, which is considered the best school in the state. That's an easy claim to make; a school which has 100 percent of its students testing proficient in reading and math during the 2010-2011 school year is tough to beat.
Some legislators objected due to breaking with tradition; the governor should give the speech at Ohio Statehouse. Others balked at the costs of having Supreme Court justices, statewide officeholders, Cabinet officials and lawmakers make the 260-mile round trip from Columbus to Steubenville.
Both are good points. After all, the governor could use his travelling bully pulpit to tout the success of Wells Academy some other time. Does the desire to highlight alternative schools, and alternative funding methods, warrant the change of address?
Considering that current method of relying on property taxes has been ruled unconstitutional, yes.
But wait, as the TV sales pitches say. There's more.
There are more wells to promote in eastern Ohio, the gas and oil variety. The drilling industry could see the biggest growth in Ohio over the next several years, and Kasich's speech is expected to highlight policies his administration is developing as a result.
It will be interesting to see whether those plans include fees which would help schools and local governments. A report by Policy Matters Ohio calculates a 5-percent severance tax could generate up to $538 million by 2015.
"We could use severance taxes to help local communities pay that up-front cost associated with drilling," Wendy Patton, author of the report, stated in a release. "That could help schools and local governments, which have been cut badly."
If the governor wants to help schools move away from property taxes, that might be one way to do it.