Kasich to Obama: Leave Us Alone to 'Run State'

Monday, 21 Feb 2011 10:26 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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New GOP Gov. John Kasich says Ohio does not just have a fiscal crisis, but a jobs crisis, and he will ask President Barack Obama – who visits Cleveland Tuesday – to “give us the flexibility we need to run our state.”

Kasich Monday said on CNN he believes Ohio – which like embattled Wisconsin is also considering a bill to limit unions’ collective-bargaining rights – must act to control the state’s costs and wages, to keep it competitive.

john,kasich,gop,democrats“This is not really just about collective bargaining,” Kasich told CNN’s Jessica Yellin. “We have an $8 billion budget hole in Ohio, we’ve a third of our college students who leave Ohio after three years, we’ve lost 600,000 jobs in the last 10 years. And part of the reason why we are [taking on] collective bargaining, is we frankly want to give the managers in our local communities and our schools the opportunity to control their costs, so they don’t have to raise taxes and drive businesses out, and more jobs out.”

Yellin asked Kasich “why not negotiate with public unions, who have been willing to take cuts in the past, instead of going after the heart of what makes a union a union,” collective-bargaining rights.

“It’s right for them [employees] to be able to negotiate on their salary, but we need to let managers be able to determine things, like keeping their pension system healthy, making sure that the costs related to healthcare are consistent with private sector workers,” he said. “This is all about restoring some balance to the system.

“We don’t just have a fiscal crisis here – we have a jobs crisis in Ohio,” he continued. “The problem is we’re not competitive, and if we can’t control our costs and reduce our taxes, and be in a position to reduce our regulations, the jobs are going to continue to leave. And when the jobs leave, our families are hurt, our communities are hurt.”

Yellin asked Kasich what his message would be to Obama when he visits Cleveland Tuesday.

“Well, I’m there to greet him,” Kasich said, but added, “President Obama came to Ohio 12 times to try to defeat me – and guess what – he didn’t win.

“My message to him on anything is: Give us the flexibility we need to run our state. And, frankly, that is what I am going to ask him for,” he said. “I would ask him for more flexibility, particularly on Medicaid, so we can serve the population of people that need healthcare. Release the strings; allow us to manage our state better in a whole variety of ways.”

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