Ohio Gov. John Kasich explained his "360 program" and the economic initiatives his administration has accomplished at a meet-and-greet event at Ralph's Joy of Living Saturday afternoon.
After an introduction by Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, Kasich spoke about the success Ohio has had in the past few years, including the decrease of unemployment and the growth of Ohio's economy.
"Sadly, there were a lot of people hurting, and we're pulling out of it now," Kasich said. "Now the sun has come up."
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during a campaign stop at Ralph’s Joy of Living Saturday afternoon.
He commended Montz for pulling the city out of a $1 million deficit. Tiffin now has a $3 million surplus, Kasich said.
"We've fallen on some very good times here," he said. "We've got to keep it going, which means we've got to keep our budget balanced."
When he took office, Kasich said Ohio had the largest deficit in the history of the state at $8 billion. Currently, the state has $1.5 billion in surplus.
"It could be more than that, but we've decided that with those surpluses, we need to give money back to you," he said.
Kasich said Ohio has the largest accumulation of tax cuts in the United States, including income tax cuts, the elimination of the estate tax, workers' compensation rebates and cuts in small-business taxes.
Last year, small businesses taxes were cut in half, up to $250,000. This year, Kasich said the percentage is to be increased to 75 percent. The cut is to encourage growth in small businesses and small communities, Kasich said.
"We want to make sure families can continue ... small businesses," he said. "That's what holds our communities together."
Kasich also said he supported lowering the income tax further, as individuals leave Ohio for states with lower income tax, such as Florida, Nevada or Tennessee.
He also spoke about the positive impact of diversifying economic opportunities in the state.
"We used to be manufacturing and agriculture, which is great, we still are," he said. "But we're also spreading out. We have information technology, we have energy... financial services, logistics."
By diversifying the economy in Ohio, Kasich said more investments can be made and if one industry fails, the economy would not be as negatively affected.
"We're diversifying so we're not just in one area," he said. "If something happens in one area, the other areas can sustain us."
Kasich said more resources are to be provided for treatment for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.
"We don't have a right to brush aside the mentally ill," he said. "We now have resources to help them. ... We want to make sure that everybody can live up to their God-given potential."
With the development of additional resources for different types of treatment, Kasich said more resources also are to be provided for addicts and for prevention.
Kasich also explained the Start Talking program, which provides information on how to encourage children not to use drugs.
"We know that if we talk to our kids about the dangers of drugs, there's a 50 percent less chance they will do drugs," he said.
For more information, visit starttalking.ohio.gov.
All the initiatives mentioned are included in what Kasich called his "360 program." He said promoting the economy builds up the state, which then provides a platform to help those who have been left out.
"That should be what we're all about, as a party, as a philosophy," he said. "There's an awful lot of confusion in our culture today. Drugs, violence, lack of personal responsibility too often. ... We have to get engaged."
Kasich also recognized elected officials and candidates in attendance, such as State Sen. Dave Burke, R-Marysville, State Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, candidate for State Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, and candidate for Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner.