Gov. John Kasich addressed delegates to the 94th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation last week. The governor immediately reminded them that their convention was his first stop after being elected in 2010. He then told the group how much he likes and admires farmers and agriculture. He urged the group to seek out David Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, or come directly to him if they have any new ideas for ways to bring jobs to Ohio.
"We are now the number one producer of jobs in the Midwest," he told the crowd. "What we can't do is rest on our accomplishments. Now is the time to run even faster."
The governor told the group the next order of business was reducing Ohio's income tax. He asked the organization for their support in passing a severance tax on the extraction of oil and gas.
"Even with the increase we propose, Ohio will have the lowest severance tax in the country. The industry is ready for this. I don't think 8 or 9 cents on an $80 barrel of oil is too much," he said.
He then called for a restructuring of the state's public education with a new emphasis on jobs. "Our education system ought to be linked to business. When you have a child who is interested in being a farmer you start to educate them at the ages of four or five or six about what it means to be a good farmer. In the first grade we need to introduce jobs to children. As they get older they will see more options and develop a purpose and a passion and lead to good jobs."
Kasich also complimented the farmer members for the work they were doing to improve water quality in the state. "I know farmers want a good environment and keeping fertilizer in the soil and out of our streams is part of successful agriculture."
Finally, the governor addressed future considerations of the Ohio Turnpike. He compared it to a farm asset, telling the group, "If you have an asset that is not producing, what do you do with it? You sell it. Our infrastructure matters if we can extract value from that road while keeping the concerns of northern Ohioans in mind we need to do it."
Kasich concluded by asking the Ohio farm bureau to be supportive of these proposals. "People are afraid of change," he said. "People have a vested interest in the status quo. But look at the companies that have been the most successful. They are the ones that have embraced change, like Google, and Apple and IBM."