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Washington (Aug 19) Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Ohio Governor John Kasich talks about how his administration’s success closing the largest budget shortfall in Ohio’s history without raising taxes offers lessons for Washington. Working together to make tough fiscal choices, remove government barriers to job creation, and institute real, confidence-boosting reforms – like a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution – is the focus of Kasich’s address. A former chairman of the House Budget Committee, Kasich helped lead the charge for the Balanced Budget Amendment in the mid-1990s, when it came within one vote of heading to the states for ratification. Ohio recently had its credit rating upgraded by Standard & Poor’s, which attributed the move to the Buckeye State’s budget reforms. Following is the full text of the address.
“Hello, I’m Ohio Governor John Kasich. This week, the president traveled through the Midwest. He didn’t stop in Ohio this time around, but if he had, I’d have told him the same story I’m about to share with you.
“When I entered office in January, Ohio was facing the largest budget shortfall in our history and an economy suffering from the same uncertainty that’s hurting small businesses across the country. My administration worked with members of the General Assembly to reduce our shortfall to zero, all the while cutting taxes for every Ohioan.
“How did we do it?
“Well in the past, our state, like many others, relied heavily on one-time federal ‘stimulus’ dollars to fill the budget gap and used tricks and gimmicks to do the rest. But over time, that approach created a massive shortfall, caused job creators to lose confidence in Ohio, and led to increased unemployment.
“We looked our problems square in the eye and we didn't blink. With our budget, we’ve achieved real savings and made long-overdue reforms to provide better value to Ohioans without raising their taxes; to the contrary, we cut their taxes and eliminated the death tax, which was driving successful entrepreneurs out of Ohio. We’re privatizing economic development in my state by creating JobsOhio – it’s an innovative and new non-profit organization run by successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs, an entity that can move at the speed of business (not at the speed of statute) and bring businesses and jobs to Ohio, and give the Buckeye State the economic competitive advantage it needs.
“Of course, we have a long way still to go. These are difficult times for Ohio families, and despite our recent success, Ohio was in a very deep hole and we are digging our way out. We faced an unprecedented $8 billion deficit, and we were among the highest taxed states in the nation. We knew we had to get Ohioans working again, so raising taxes – that was not the answer, as even the president has said before. Because that would have made Ohio even less competitive. Instead, we chose to reform programs that politicians had shied away from touching for decades – programs like Medicaid and prisons – so we wouldn’t have to raise taxes and drive out more jobs.
“For all the good we’re trying to do here, our success in Ohio and in a number of other states will be thwarted if Washington continues its spending spree and its punitive taxes on success. You know, if we’ve learned anything from the federal ‘stimulus,’ it’s that government can’t tax, spend, and regulate its way to prosperity. Government shouldn’t be making promises it can’t keep – especially when it’s more than $14.5 trillion in the hole. Make no mistake, our national debt represents a claim on your future hard-earned tax dollars. And if we don’t tackle it - and soon - it will tackle us, and erode our economy and our children’s future.
“So when I hear the president and his allies in Washington say we need more spending and higher taxes, it is a real cause for concern. As we’ve proven in Ohio, there is a better way.
“And Americans can learn from Ohio. We need to start thinking about what we can do to help our children have a great future. Reform the behemoth that is the federal government to create the space so that businesses can invest and create jobs. Let’s look at what has worked throughout history: government is not THE answer, but it can be part of the answer. Rather, it’s the ability to provide for a robust private sector where people want to invest and take risks – that’s what’s going to get this country moving again. Republicans in Congress get this, and they have offered these kinds of solutions that deserve the president’s consideration, if not his full support.
“You know, I’m also encouraged to see that Republicans fought to ensure that both houses of Congress will vote this fall on the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. As a former chairman of the House Budget Committee, I can tell you there is no better way to control future spending and give our job creators long-term certainty than through a Balanced Budget Amendment.
“Fifteen years ago, a Balanced Budget Amendment came within one vote of passing Congress and going to the states for ratification. One of the votes to pass it in the House 15 years ago was mine. I can’t help but wonder how different things would be had we succeeded. Both parties should come together this fall to send a balanced budget amendment to us right here in our states.
“Divided government is no excuse for inaction. Sure, we had our fair share of gridlock back in the 1990s. Our differences may have been stark, but President Clinton and his team worked with us so that we could do what was best for the country. There’s just no substitute for leadership from the President of the United States.
“Where is it written that Washington can’t do it again? Where is it written that both parties can’t cut through the scar tissue and find consensus? Nowhere.
“It’s my hope President Obama will listen to the people and partner with Republicans to get our economy back to creating jobs and producing growth. And it's just as important that Republicans not be stiff-necked about working across the aisle when important work must be done. It's okay to compromise on policy, as long as you don't compromise on your principles. The playbook we’re following here in Ohio is simple: to grow more, you have to tax less, spend less, and regulate less. If we can do it here in Ohio, Washington can - and should - do it also. Together, we can get it done.
“On behalf of all the people of the great state of Ohio, thank you for listening.”
VIDEO and IMAGE CREDIT: HouseConference
TEXT CREDIT: Speaker of the House John Boehner Contact H-232 The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 P (202) 225-0600 F (202) 225-5117
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