Ward: Waiting to exhaleWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Few should have been surprised that Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State address was unscripted. He told Ohio media he was not planning on using scripted text or a teleprompter.
Any doubts should have immediately vanished when one of the first things Kasich said was, “Well, first of all, I don’t want to screw this up; my wife Karen Kasich is in the gallery. Could you recognize her, please?”
While Kasich offered few details during the more than one-hour address, he did sprinkle it with a few slogans, referencing Toledo, The Andersons and “Nationwide Insurance, they’re always on your side.”
It was more of a rambling grouping of talking points with some inspirational platitudes than a traditional State of the State address. What audience the speech was designed for was unclear, though he drew some inspiration from Bachman Turner Overdrive — “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
He went from talking about a trip to Mexico with his wife to a “one-horse town, a half-a-horse town” where they spotted a Sherwin-Williams store to how we need to promote and sell Lake Erie.
While there were no specifics as to what the education plan will be, Kasich did state that he had bought the movie “Waiting for ‘Superman’” and that he was going to make sure it was shown throughout the state.
“You watch this movie, it will get you angry, it will get you frustrated, it will make you cry,” Kasich said. “And it will get you to begin to stand up for our kids.”
Toledo was specifically referenced near the end of the address.
“Let’s talk about Toledo, Toledo’s been sliding, you go there, you see a lot of buildings but not a lot of people walking around in the morning. It’s a great town, it created First Solar,” Kasich said. “First Solar was one of the most rapidly rising companies on the New York Stock Exchange. They want a photovoltaic center up in Toledo. We’re thinking about it, we’d love to do that.
“They’ve got The Andersons, go to The Andersons, everybody’s at home. The specialty manufacturing, Owens Illinois, so many of the manufacturing in Toledo is forward-looking,” he said. “The University of Toledo … and of course the Jeep plant.”
Kasich hinted that cuts are coming and that his budget will include restructuring of government.
“Well, I tell you what, we’ve been looking at this for a long time and we believe in not just cutting a budget — oh, there will be cuts, but that’s not the way to get there,” Kasich said. “We believe in restructuring.”
The City of Toledo is required to pass a balanced budget by March 31. As was pointed out at the March 8 Toledo City Council meeting by Councilman George Sarantou, it’s not known what the state funding will be.
“We are waiting on the State of Ohio to find out exactly what our local government share allocation will be, as well as what they are going to propose with regard to possible reductions in the estate tax,” Sarantou said. “Those two items alone are about $6 million affecting our budget and unfortunately we can’t really do anything until we find out what Columbus is proposing, so we can make the kinds of adjustments in the budget.”
Funding is going to be cut, which will increase the previously predicted $6 million deficit, create some last-minute scrambling to pass a balanced budget and pressure to increase fees, like the trash fee.
A special Council meeting has been scheduled for March 28 so there would be several days to pass a budget.
It’s why many were holding their breath, hoping for details in the State of the State address — they will now have to wait until Gov. Kasich unveils his budget on March 15. A town hall meeting is set for 6 p.m. at the Capitol Theater in Columbus. It will be broadcast live on the Internet and via satellite to Ohio television stations.
The release states the governor will take questions from the audience and online. “I’m going to take folks’ questions for as long as I can until they start to turn out the lights on me,” Kasich said.
Toledo Free Press Web editor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog GlassCityJungle.com.