“We can not raises taxes to deal with it,” the Republican governor said of the state's projected $8 billion budget deficit. “And the reason why we can't raise taxes is I am not going to put this state in a worse competitive situation.”
Mr. Kasich spoke for nearly an hour during a joint session of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and the local Rotary Club at the Park Inn in downtown Toledo. His remarks centered on theme: “Restoring Ohio's Competitiveness.”
The governor touched on a range of topics concerning local and state economic development. He trumpeted his proposal for JobsOhio, a private, nonprofit corporation that would replace the Ohio Department of Development. He also expressed support for Mayor Mike Bell's recent proposal to sell The Docks entertainment complex to Chinese investors, and urged him to stand tough against the deal's critics.
“You cannot let the naysayers win,” he said. “If you can get significant foreign investment in Toledo ... you've got to be kidding me if we pass that opportunity up — that would be sinful. And so my recommendation would be not let them stand in your way, sir, and tell the mayor to keep on keeping on.”
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The governor also expressed dismay at the Federal Trade Commission's objections to ProMedica Health System's proposed merger with St. Luke's Hospital.
There was an awkward moment near the end of Mr. Kasich's speech when he asked if Mayor Bell was in the room. Apparently unknown to the governor, Mr. Bell — who ran for office as a political independent — remained out of town Monday on personal business. A spokesman refused to reveal his whereabouts.
Steve Herwat, deputy mayor of operations, announced several minutes later that Mayor Bell was unable to attend the luncheon and sent his regrets.
“Mayor Bell wants to partner with you to make this part of the state better,” Mr. Herwat told the governor.