Candidates offer solutions to Ohio’s failing economy

Ben Breier

CINCINNATI -ÿRepublican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell plans to fix Ohio’s economic well-being by cutting taxes, following in the footsteps of former presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

But Democratic candidate Ted Strickland believes Blackwell is no Ronald Reagan.

The candidates squared off at University of Cincinnati’s Patricia Corbett Theater last night to debate the logistics of fixing Ohio’s economy.

Addressing job growth

The debate began with a question from a University of Cincinnati student who wanted to know how the two candidates plan to stimulate jobs in Ohio.

Blackwell plans to create jobs by slashing income taxes for 300 businesses.

“We’ve put too many obstacles in the way, and we must cut our taxes,” Blackwell said.

Strickland discussed his plan to invest $250 million into energy research -ÿincluding wind power, ethanol and biodiesel fuel.

And while Blackwell is pushing to decrease taxes, Strickland calls for maintaining the status quo.

“Business leaders said we need to leave the tax code alone for a while due to drastic tax reform recently passed that will make Ohio more competitive,” he said.

Ohio health care

Strickland promises a plan that he said will offer immediate and affordable coverage to 1.3 million uninsured Ohio citizens. He also suggests examining citizens who qualify for health care benefits under pre-existing plans. Strickland estimates 100,000 adults and 150,000 children are eligible to receive health care funding.

Blackwell focused on aiding young adults, proposing that young people stay under their parent’s health care benefits until age 29 instead of the current age of 21.

Keeping great minds in Ohio

Strickland blamed the loss of Ohio’s innovators to coastal areas on neglect in the area of education, citing the cost of higher education in Ohio is 45 percent above the national average, while Blackwell said college graduates are simply chasing dreams and opportunities -ÿand called for immediate action.

“I suggest to you that Ohio can’t wait,” Blackwell said. “We will advance tax reform and cut taxes for small businesses, so they can produce jobs to put Ohio back in the hands of young people.”

Contact public affairs reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].