COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich offered what was called a “looking ahead” speech a few days ago before an audience of business leaders near the Statehouse.
He didn’t break a whole lot of new ground, instead reiterating themes and ideas I’ve heard him talk about during other speeches over the past month and a half or so.
If nothing else, it probably offered a preview of the sort of things he’ll say during his State of the State speech in a few weeks.
• Tight Budget Coming: Taxes and other collections aren’t reaching projected levels, and the administration has made it clear that the coming biennial budget is going to be tight.
“We haven’t slashed any budgets,” Kasich said. “We’ve been putting more money into things… We spent a lot of money in a lot of programs… What we really ought to be thinking about as we budget is how much have you really gotten over the past few years and you can trim some of it back.”
He added, “We can’t look at government as cutting when actually what we’re doing is we’re reducing a significant increase and we have to think about those things that way and we also have to innovate to squeeze out the most we can out of efficiency so when the tough times come, we deal with it.”
• The Cool Quotient: The governor said young people want to live in places that are cool, and Ohio is starting to catch on.
“We need young people,” he said. “… It’s got to be cool. You’ve got to have a cool factor. It takes a while for the cool factor to register. But let me ask you this question: Is there a cooler place to go than the Flats in Cleveland? Is there a cooler place to go than the Arena District or the Short North [in Columbus]? Is there a cooler place to go than Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati? I mean, it’s happening… in many of our communities as young people want to flock back to the urban center… But we have to grow this population, and we’ve got to make sure that we not only educate young people here but we keep them here or at least we have boomerang effect where if they leave for a while… that they come back to Ohio, and they’re beginning to do that, and that’s pretty darn good.”
• Don’t Do Drugs: The state, the governor said, is spending about a billion dollars fighting drug addiction. The State Highway Patrol is busting more people on drug-related crimes. There are new restrictions in place to stop the over-prescription of painkillers.
But it’s going to take communities coming together to battle heroin to turn the tide, the governor said.
“We can approach this drug problem from the top down,” Kasich said. “You think it will work? It’ll help. We can spend the money, we can put the protocols in, we can bust the people … but you know what’s really going to be effective is when you’re in a restaurant and you see a group of young people and you walk over to them and say let me warn you about the danger of drugs… These problems can be largely attacked successfully if the citizenry makes up their mind that we can do it.”
Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.