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National, state priorities likely themes of Kasich speech

COLUMBUS (AP) — The practical and the political will share the stage as Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his annual State of the State address in Wilmington.

As the first order of business, the Republican governor will, no doubt, to appeal to state lawmakers gathered for the speech to support major policy changes on education, tax policy and social programs that he’s proposed in the two-year state operating budget that’s moving through the Statehouse.

As a potential 2016 presidential contender, he also is expected to touch on sweeping national themes.

Those include the example he believes Ohio’s economic rebound can set for other states and the need for citizens to embrace personal responsibility and other basic values to improve the national condition. He began the values conversation during last month’s inaugural address.

This marks the fourth consecutive year Kasich has taken the address outside of Columbus. By choosing Wilmington, in southwestern Ohio, he will be able to point to a city that was considered a poster child for the ravages of the Great Recession that is now experiencing economic growth.

Kasich has used past addresses to appeal to fellow Republicans in the state legislature on his priority issues.

This year, those include education funding formula changes that the administration says are designed to more effectively direct state dollars to the districts that need them most. The changes have been criticized for delivering cuts to more than half of districts and lacking a consistent impact across districts of all income levels.

Kasich’s budget proposal also changes eligibility rules for the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and raises taxes on oil-and-gas extraction, tobacco and on sales in some additional categories, including cable TV subscriptions and parking. The spending blueprint trims taxes in other areas, including on income, in order to offset the hikes.

Winners of the Governor’s Courage Awards will also be announced during the speech.