State of the States

State of the States Coverage: Ohio

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Here is a summary of a recent annual address by a governor.

OHIO

Gov. John Kasich (R) • Feb. 24

Gov. Kasich, a possible candidate for the White House in 2016, used his State of the State platform to pitch his proposal for overhauling K-12 funding, a plan that has drawn a mixed reception within the Republican-controlled legislature.

In a speech delivered in the southwestern Ohio town of Wilmington, Mr. Kasich sold his funding plan as one that would bring greater equity to districts across the state. The governor, who was re-elected to a second term last year by a wide margin, wants to direct more state aid to districts with lower income levels and less ability to raise money through property taxes. While overall funding for the state's K-12 budget would rise by $750 million, to $8 billion, from fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2017—the state has a two-year-budget cycle—about half of the districts in the state would face cuts in state aid, according to the Ohio's office of budget and management. The governor has proposed protecting aid for specific academic programs, including special needs students and early literacy.

"I've got to figure out how to take this money and allocate it across the state in the fairest way possible," Mr. Kasich told lawmakers, adding: "If you can do more for yourself, you should ...[W]e cannot take from schools that are worse off and give it to those who have more. We often do that today."

The governor has also proposed broad revisions to Ohio's overall tax structure, lowering income taxes and raising them on various sectors, including cigarettes and oil and gas derived through fracking. Lawmakers in the state's legislature have reacted coolly to the tax proposals, and have said they want to modify the governor's budget plans for schools.

Vol. 34, Issue 23, Page 19

Published in Print: March 4, 2015, as State of the States
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