By Hiram Reisner
Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn't want to be listed as anti-union -- he just wants to control his state's costs, empower taxpayers, and "lift Ohio for all Ohioans." Kasich Wednesday told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly the purpose of his budget-cutting bill is not to crush unions, but "to get Ohio out of this deep hole we're in."
ohio, save, money, unions"We have an $8 billion budget deficit and we have a massive reform plan, that also includes the ability to control our costs as it relates to public employees versus, at times, the taxpayers," Kasich said. "I also want to give the flexibility to mayors, to school districts, to be able to control their costs, because there is going to be fewer dollars flowing from the state to those folks and those entities.
"So basically I support the idea, that our union members, our public employees, ought to have the right to bargain over their wages," he said. "But there are a number of things that the taxpayers, represented by people like me, and by the mayors, and the city councils, and the school boards in our communities, need to be able to have to control their costs."
O'Reilly noted that in order for Kasich -- and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- to cut their budget deficits, "you have to diminish union power."
"This is not about diminishing, or attacking, or being against unions," Kasich said. "The unions are still going to be able to represent the public employees. All we are doing is creating a balance.
"I choose to look at it in a different way: What I am doing is, I am empowering taxpayers," he continued. "My job is to lift Ohio for all Ohioans. We're one of the highest taxed states in America; we're under siege out here -- companies don't want to come to Ohio. We have to lower the cost of doing business, so all Ohioans can gain.
"If we can get jobs created in Ohio, everybody gains. On my watch, I am going to do everything I can to make Ohio a job-gaining state, rather than a job-losing state."