- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gov. John Kasich said Thursday he plans to push back even harder against detractors during his second term, as he tries to further reduce Ohio’s income tax and enact regulations on charter schools.

The governor’s remarks dominated a lunchtime event where he was joined by fellow Republicans, Senate President Keith Faber and retiring House Speaker William Batchelder.

The outspoken Kasich joked before an audience hosted by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce that he has held back during his first four years in office.

“I’m going to have a lot more to say this term for those that stand in my way,” he said. “I’m shy and I’m pulling myself out of my shell.”

Kasich said he would continue to focus on cutting the state’s income tax rate. Asked whether he would look to businesses to help make up the lost revenue, the governor said firmly, “Everybody’s going to have to be part of tax reform.”



Kasich has gotten push back from business- and industry-related groups for trying to increase the state’s tobacco tax and the tax rate on Ohio’s oil and gas drillers. He encouraged the groups to work with him.

“You are not going to get this done by just slashing government spending,” Kasich said.

Faber, who will return to lead the Senate next year, hinted that smaller employers could see tax changes.

“We’ve got to eliminate the small-business tax in my view,” Faber said. “I think it’s unfair. I think it’s discriminatory.”

Kasich said his budget, due in February, would impose tougher rules on charter schools.

“We will not tolerate people coming into this state, making money at the expense of great education for our kids,” Kasich said, while adding that he supported vouchers and school choice.

Kasich’s remarks followed release of an extensive study this week by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes that found Ohio charter schools’ performance results are mediocre. The report found students attending charter schools fall behind their counterparts in traditional public schools by 14 days on average in reading and 43 days in math over the course of a school year.

At the year-end event, Kasich highlighted what he saw as benefits of an expansion of the Medicaid health program and his economic policies, including creation of a privatized job-creation office.

Kasich said that with conditions improving in Ohio, it would be easy for the legislature and him to divert to cruise-mode. But “It’s unacceptable. Because if we don’t push forward in a very aggressive way, we’ll go backwards again,” he said.

“But that’s going to require people being uncomfortable,” he added.

___

Associated Press writer Julie Carr Smyth contributed to this report.

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