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Lima: Gov. Kasich delivers 'State of the State'

8:57 PM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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COLUMBUS -- Lima hosted Gov. John Kasich as he delivered his third annual State of the State address, the second in a row outside the Statehouse.

The speech's location outside Columbus on Tuesday wasn't the only thing that's unconventional. So is its hour of 6:45 p.m., a departure from previous noontime addresses.

Kasich used the address to tout his $63.2 billion, two-year budget. The spending blueprint includes a new school-funding formula and expansion of the Medicaid government health-insurance program.

It also overhauls the tax code to lower rates on income, sales and small-business taxes while imposing sales taxes on many new services and increasing the rate on high-volume oil and gas extraction.

Kasich says extending Medicaid coverage to thousands of low-income residents will help the state on multiple levels. The Republican governor proposed Medicaid expansion under the federal law in his two-year budget plan.

He's framed the decision as recapturing Ohio taxpayers' federal money. The state would see $2.4 billion from Washington to cover those newly eligible for Medicaid over the next two years beginning in July.

Many Republicans are averse to President Barack Obama's signature health care law and resistant to expanding government programs. Kasich said in his State of the State speech Tuesday he knows the issue is controversial.

But he says he's asking lawmakers to examine the issue carefully and examine their conscience. He says the most vulnerable shouldn't be ignored, but lifted.

Kasich is calling his school-funding proposal an objective plan that applies equally to all districts based on their property tax wealth, residents' income and individual characteristics of students they serve.

Kasich says in Tuesday's State of the State speech that Ohio's poorest districts and urban districts get more money than the state's wealthiest districts.

Kasich says those districts also get more per-pupil funding before funding guarantees are factored in.

The governor says his plan provides a total of $1.2 billion in new money in 2014 and 2015, which means that by the end of the next two years Ohio will be providing students more in state aid than they received at the height of the 2011 federal stimulus plan

The Associated Press

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