Talking With Governor John Kasich About The Ohio Comeback
HH: Its Hugh Hewitt, joined by one of my favorite elected officials Governor John Kasich of the great state of Ohio. Governor, great to talk to ya.
JK: Great to talk to you. I was up your way the other day, drove through Salem, how’s that?
HH: Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! I hope you someday go over and spend the night in Warren. That place is booming, thanks to a bunch of different things. So, Governor, I have three things to cover with you. First of all, balanced budget amendment. My friend Mark Levine’s got a book out, wants a state convention—a constitutional convention called. I read something where you think the state has got to get this done as well. Are you going for the Article V Convention?
JK: My, look no, what I’d like to see happen is, I’d like to see the 34 states call for constitutional convention for purposes of balancing the budget, and I’d love to see the Congress go ahead and pass one, because you know, Hugh, I was there when we actually did balance the budget, but those years are few and far between and I don’t believe there is any substitute for will, but at the same time there is some things that help you to have a stronger will. So I was Budget Committee Chairman, we balanced the budget, fought up the hill, saw all good get diminished once the whole team of people left. Then I became Governor of Ohio. We faced a $8 billion hole, the largest in our history. We now, not only are in balance, but we also have a surplus and part of that comes because we have a law that requires a balanced budget. So, look, this is crazy what we are seeing in Washington, 17 trillion dollars, we become a debtor nation. China is investing more money in countries than the World Bank. We’re losing influence, and our children are going to get stuck having to pay the bill and to me that’s just immoral.
HH: Second question: Today Chris Christy said “I am in this business to win. I don’t know why you are in it. I’m in this to win.” I like that. I like to win elections; I don’t like to lose elections. Jack Kemp was pretty good at winning most elections. You’re now being called the new Jack Kemp, a compassionate conservative. Does that help win elections or does it lose tea party support?
JK: Hugh, I’m in the business to try to bring about improvement. Um, you know, of course, we all like to win but I’m in this business because I want to see people do better. I want more jobs created. I want more prosperity. I want stronger families of which comes when you have job creation, but I also believe that when you’re doing better, it is important to help people who are on the other side of the ledger who are stuck and who need a bridge to being able to realize that the gains that you can get from a more prosperous America. So, in my state of Ohio, while we’ve come back but still have a long way to go, I believe it’s important to reach out to people who live in the shadows and to help them to be able to share in the economic growth of my state. You know, there’s a biblical part of this, it’s called the Good Samaritan. You know, the Good Samaritan was hated in the Jewish culture. When you saw somebody lying on the side of the road, you didn’t ask them what’s your condition, where’s your work or anything else. He’s – put him up in the inn and he’s told the inn keeper take care of him and when I get back, I’ll give you the rest of the money. He’s known throughout eternity as healer and a repairer and that’s part of our mission as conservatives, and it’s not just to create prosperity but it is also to help people to share in it.
HH: I agree with this. A lot of compassionate conservatives get bad names though because they’re allegedly big government republican tax hikers. Am I not correct that Ohio did away with the estate tax?
JK: Yeah, well, we killed the estate tax—Hugh, look
JK: in the last 30 days or 40 days we’ve announced 3 billion dollars in more infrastructure improvements without raising taxes. I gave a billion dollar rebate in cash to people who pay into worker’s comp and I think I have the largest tax [cut] in the country in a 2.6 billion dollar tax cut included in our budget. Now, we’re up 162,000 private sector jobs. We were down 350,000. We have the largest amount of money in our surplus fund in an amount of, in a real amount in the history of the state, so what are we talking about here? The most important thing is, first of all, you just don’t let people hang out who are in trouble, you got to have some discipline, but you also have to help them. And so we have programs that bring discipline to those people who receive government benefits, but what I want them to do, is to be able to get off the government benefits and share in the free enterprise system. Now, when Jack Kemp used to say, is economic growth, and frankly, I think a lot of Republicans have lost interest in economic growth. I don’t think they understand it.
HH: I agree with that.
JK: That why I cut taxes, that’s why we deregulate, but tax cut—you wouldn’t believe what I had to go through to plead with the legislature to give us an additional tax cut.
JK: So, it’s because we’ve lost our way on growth.
HH: Let’s me ask you about Medicaid expansion. I’m an agnostic because I’m a federalist. It is bad medicine in many places. It is good medicine in a few places. You embraced it in Ohio, why?
JK: I want to get my money back so solve our problems. You know, drug addiction is no longer something that just exists in the corner of our society. People of all classes, all incomes, everyone is effected. You cannot believe the stories of the number of young people who have died from heroin overdoses who come from some of our wealthiest neighborhoods. Number one, I want them tested, and I want them rehabbed. It’s not good enough to test ‘em if you don’t rehab ‘em. What does that do? And then with the mentally ill, we release them from the big institutions and where do we find them now? On our streets or in our jails. I want to give them the help they need and the working poor? These are people who are practicing I want to work and I want to get ahead and they get their health insurance in an emergency room which we all pay for. So, I want my money back, the Ohio money back, to deal with Ohio problems so we can be a stronger state in so many ways.
JK: I might. We’re looking to see if we can work the schedule so I can get up there. I have, that day I have what’s called, I’m very big into job training and being able to make sure that we can have people ready for 21st Century jobs, and I have real people and real business people trying to figure this out. I have a meeting that day with all those folks, but we’re trying to see if we can change it and I would absolutely love to be up there with you, Hugh. It’s one of the reasons why I’d like to go.
HH: And what a great thing for Ohio to have the Bicentennial there, but Ohio tourism doing? We have one minute left and I always—
JK: Look, I think we’re behind the curve on it and here’s what I’m arguing. We need to tell people not just about our economic gains and the stability of the state and the opportunity because we are within 600 miles of 60 percent of the country, and we have access to markets and everything else that people need. But we also have, we have great entertainment here with some of the greatest amusement parks, but we also have a tremendous, tremendous history of history. And you got make history come alive. You put it all together and all of a sudden, you got a winner.
HH: You do and it’s happening all across Ohio. Governor John Kasich, always a pleasure to talk to you. Enjoy the rest of the summer and maybe I’ll see you at Put In Bay, Governor.