A new poll out Friday shows that Ohioans may not be as keen on what Governor John Kasich has planned for the state going forward as the former congressman thinks they are. A progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus released a poll showing that large majorities of Ohioans disagree with many of Gov. John Kasich's key policy and budget proposals.
Janetta King, who heads up Innovation Ohio, a progressive advocacy group that formed following the defeat of Ted Strickland, a Democrat, in 2010 when then-citizen John R. Kasich won a squeaker election by just 2 percentage points out of a voter turn that was less than 50 percent, told reporters on a conference call today that Ohioans have priorities that differ with those Gov. Kasich has advocated over the first two years of his first term. With the release of his next two-year budget, Gov. Kasich has bet his reelection campaign on the notion that reducing the state income tax by paying for it by expanding the sales tax to hitherto exempted services isn't the first priority of voting Ohioans.
Next Tuesday will mark Gov. Kasich's third State of the State speech, at which he is expected to reinforce a controversial agenda embedded in a budget he submitted to a Republican-controlled legislature recently.
"Most Ohioans simply don't agree with their Governor," King said in the conference call. "Innovation Ohio stands ready to assist our elected officeholders in crafting policies more in tune with what Ohioans want."
Among the poll's key findings are:
- 60% of Ohioans say public schools need more state funding to improve; 59% say Ohio is doing too little to improve the quality of public education
- 62% say helping localities fund schools, fire and police is more important to them than reducing the state income tax
- 62% favor raising Ohio's severance tax on oil and natural gas to the Texas rate ---and using the money to offset state budget cuts to local governments
- 74% favor a plan to create tax incentives for energy companies to hire Ohio workers
- 57% oppose borrowing against future Ohio Turnpike tolls in order to fund road, bridge and other infrastructure projects now
The poll was performed by Diane Feldman and The Feldman Group, Inc. It included an 800-person sample Feldman told reporters was proportional to Ohio's populace.
Dale Butland, IO spokes, said the poll doesn't represent what his group thinks but what Ohioans think. The poll does not include Gov. Kasich's decision to expand Medicaid because, as Butland said, it was done in January and Gov. Kasich had not decided whether he would go along with the expansion, an expansion 13 other GOP governors have said no to since. Prior to releasing his budget on Feb. 4, Gov. Kasich said that while he thinks the Affordable Care Act is a flawed law, he would accept the expansion nonetheless, justifying it because it would bring billions to the state that turning it down would prevent.
King said the questions in the poll represent issues her group is particularly interested in, "because we work on them most."
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