As Gov. John Kasich eyes his reelection campaign next year, expect Tuesday’s State of the State speech to emphasis Ohio's "economic comeback."
That means Kasich will talk about lower unemployment than the national average, and businesses returning to the state with new jobs being created. The looming budget deficit Kasich inherited has turned into a $1.4 billion dollar rainy day fund.
But before Kasich begins his campaign, the fight over his new two-year state budget could help or harm his narrative.
Last month, Kasich announced details of his overhaul of Ohio's school funding formula.
"We want to make sure that a student who comes from a district that's poor is going to have the same shot at a quality education as the kid who comes from some of the richest districts in the state," Kasich recently told 10TV. "When you're a wealthy district you have a greater ability to help yourself, but with the commitment we've made, which is a significant increase in funding for K-12; we should focus the dollars so that every kid has a chance.”
The plan increases K-12 spending overall, but many small, rural districts has little to no increase in the first year.
Kasich's budget will include over $1.4 billion in proposed tax cuts, including a massive state income tax cut and sales tax reduction.
"All small businesses up to $750,000 will have half of their income deducted, so in essence they'll have a 50 percent tax cut," Kasich said.
But while the budget includes a sales tax reduction, it also expands a long list of additional services - everything from haircuts, to tickets for football games, to pet grooming.
"When we created the sales tax in the 1930s, all we really thought about were goods, but the bulk of the economic activity in the state now, is services," Kasich said. "People need to think bigger than their own little world here."
Kasich also wants to raise the severance tax on the oil and gas industry.
"It doesn't make any sense for an out of state oil company to pay 20 cents on an $80 or $90 dollar barrel of oil, then take their profits back to another state," Kasich said.
Representatives of ‘Big Oil’ have vowed to fight Kasich, who received over $250,000 from the industry in his 2010 campaign.
Kasich also decided to expand Medicaid in his budget to include over 400,000 Ohioans, putting him at odds with conservatives and the tea party.
"Right now we have a big chunk of Ohioans who use an emergency room as their primary care, and we all pay for that," Kasich said. "There's $13 billion Ohio tax dollars we can bring back to make sure we can cover the working poor."
Many health care organizations endorse the plan, along with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
But state Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican, and tea party leaders have condemned Kasich's plan as being an expansion of big government.
Kasich is also being chastised by Democrats for being overly partisan after his Friday announcement that he was appointing Beth Trombold to the state utilities commission.
By law, the seat must be held by a Democrat or Independent.
Trombold has a long record of involvement in the Republican Party, but Kasich said Trombold is now an Independent. She will replace a Democrat on the five-member board.
This will be the second straight year that Kasich has taken the State of the State speech on the road.
Traditionally, the speech has been given at the statehouse in Columbus.
Last year, Kasich made the speech in Steubenville, a traditionally Democratic area.
Lima, on the other side of the state, is the heart of Ohio conservatism. State senate president Keith Faber represents the area.
Watch 10TV and refresh 10TV.com for complete State of the State coverage.