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MARC KOVAC: Are you better or worse off today than four years ago?

record-courier Capital Bureau Published: January 19, 2014 4:00 AM

COLUMBUS -- The next 10 months will be dominated by talk of the state economy.

Depending on what side of the political fence you reside, you will have a different interpretation of how things are going here in Ohio after the oft-mentioned Great Recession.

If you are a Republican --using that term somewhat loosely, given the ongoing discontent Tea Party and other conservatives have with the establishment at the moment -- then you will tout policies that have pulled a dead state from a ditch and placed it back on the road to recovery, despite continuing "headwinds" from Washington. The latter is important to remember, because no Republican office-holder in his or her right mind will say their work on economic matters is done.

If you are a Democrat, you will point out that Ohio was on the mend before the present administration took over, unemployment stats are heading in the wrong direction and local governments are suffering. You can't log onto the social media network of your choice without reading some sort of attack from the Ohio Democratic Party on the governor and GOP-controlled legislature's policy choices and the resulting economic consequences.

But, again, it all depends on your political perspective. Both will try to convince the electorate of their position and offer plenty of convincing evidence why they are right and the other side is wrong.

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By the time you're done reading this, my email in-box will be full of angry messages seeking to convince me of their position, so I can only imagine the political ads and robo-calls and mailers that will be heading your way in coming weeks and months.

If you go to Medina next month for Gov. John Kasich's State of the State speech, I'm sure you'll hear his position, which he's offered repeatedly -- the $8 billion budget hole his administration filled, the nearly $1.5 billion in the state's formerly depleted rainy day fund, the turnpike and other plans to improve roads and bridges and other stuff, the coming capital budget with local projects for the first time in years, and on and on and on.

"At the end of the day, you look at the state, and you say, 'How are we doing?'" the governor said during a press conference last week. "Over the course of my term, we're ninth in the country in economic growth. Local communities are doing better. Our funding for K-12 [education] is the largest increase in a decade. The infrastructure projects, they all speak for themselves."

But don't try to get the governor to respond to attacks from his expected Democratic challenger, because Kasich takes the public high road on such queries.

One Statehouse reporter tried during a press event last week.

"I don't worry about any of that stuff," he said. "At the end of the day, an election is really a vote on how you think the incumbent's doing, so I really don't pay any attention...."

He added, "We have 11.5 million people, we have a lot of challenges that are still out there. And that's where my focus is. It's not on all this ankle-biting stuff that goes on."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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TaggR Jan 20, 2014 3:37 PM

"Far worse than 5 years ago."   lol, Not surprised. Whiners will always be losers.

little_r_republican Jan 20, 2014 7:57 AM

If the economy is doing so mush better, why has the unemployed but able to work population increased to 102,000,000 ? nearly one third of the US population.

little_r_republican Jan 20, 2014 7:56 AM

Far worse than 5 years ago...has little to nothing to do with Kasich. Has everything to do with democrat and establishment repubs who are the repubs wing of the democrat party. The total collapse of the US economy is coming, thanks to the unaffordable care law.

TaggR Jan 19, 2014 9:17 AM

I am much better off and nationally the economy is doing better.  Kasic gets the credit, I don't think so. Sorry GOP, no bliss of ignorance here.

Although unlike many of the sheep that post here and will vote for anyone on the republican ticket, I think for myself and I do believe I will be voting for Kasich again. Because so far I see no better alternative.