SOLON, Ohio - The nearly $62 billion state budget passed by the state legislature may not be what Gov. John Kasich sent to them in February, but he said Thursday he's happy with the results.
"I'm enthusiastic about what they did in this budget and it's a process of some compromise, but I don't feel that what we really wanted was compromised away. We're in good shape," he said of the budget he has to sign into law by Monday.
While Kasich didn't get the level of income tax cuts he sought, he said he's not disappointed.
"No, first of all we're not done with tax reform," Kasich said. "Most of the states have shut down, they've been unable to do anything in this area. I mean we're going to have a $2.6 billion tax cut. That's pretty good."
Other changes from the budget proposed in February include a quarter percent sales tax increase where Kasich sought a half percent decrease and a broadening of the tax to include services. The legislature also once again removed plans to modernize the state's severance tax on major oil and gas producers.
"I just don't think there's much to squawk about here I think this is a great tax plan it's going to help small businesses to invest, to reinvest, to hire people, it's all about jobs and that's where we're headed now," said Kasich.
"The only thing really missing is Medicaid and we'll just keep working on that," he said.
Medicaid expansion is something Kasich pushed hard for over the last four months. Providing insurance coverage to an additional 275,000 Ohioans made economic sense for northeast Ohio and the state.
"You want to create chaos don't pass this and see what happens to the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital up there in Cleveland. It will be a very bad impact on them," Kasich said in March while making his push.
Thursday he said he remained hopeful. " I think we'll get there, I'd like to get there sooner rather than later but we still have time to complete this this year and I'm going to do everything I possibly can because as the economy gets better, as people get work, you can't leave people who live in the margins, live in the shadows out."
Those words an indication Kasich may veto a provision added to the budget bill that contained a ban on expanding Medicaid.
Two other amendments Democrats are calling on Kasich to veto deal with abortion in the form of a revised fetal heartbeat bill and another that would impact funding to Planned Parenthood.
"They weren't in my original budget, they're in there, we're considering what we're going to do, but everybody should keep in mind I'm pro-life," Kasich said.
"How I do with the bill and what I sign will speak for itself but people shouldn't miss out the fact that all my career I've been pro-life," he said.