CINCINNATI - Politicians know that they need the support of the West Side of Cincinnati to succeed.
That's why generations of office-holders and office-seekers have flocked to Price Hill Chili on Glenway Avenue.
It's the place to see and be seen.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich followed that path Monday to tout the two-year state budget that he plans to sign Thursday.
It's currently being finalized by a Conference Committee in the Ohio Legislature.
"This is the most comprehensive and reform-oriented budget in modern Ohio history," Kasich said. "This gives us a good start on getting Ohio back on track again and allowing us to compete nationally."
The governor said the budget eliminates an $8 billion deficit, maintains the income tax cut, kills the death tax, provides incentives for small business investment and raises the limits on prevailing wages.
He added it reforms K-12 education by expanding vouchers and lifting the cap off charter schools.
"A lot of people didn't think it could get done and guess what," the governor said. "It's going to happen and Ohio is on the move again."
Sentencing reform focuses on moving away from prisons into local communities, something that Kasich said has been ignored for 25 to 30 years because no politician wanted to touch it.
"It is ridiculous to put somebody that steals a car stereo out of your car in a prison next to a murderer," he said. "They've got to be punished and we will do that in a community setting that's more appropriate."
The visit lasted 45 minutes, with the governor posing for pictures, signing autographs and promoting his Jobs Ohio program.
He talked about education reform with math teacher Joe Martino and suggested that high school students with an interest in the subject begin working at places like Cincinnati Financial.
"That way they learn about risk," Kasich said.
Turning a corner in the restaurant, the governor came face-to-face with former Ohio Senate President Stan Aronoff. They talked briefly about the budget and the fact that it was being done on time.
Asked if he was aware of Friday's fatal accident on the Brent Spence Bridge, Kasich said he knew the details and repeated that replacing the bridge is a priority.
However, money for the project isn't included in the transportation budget.
"The problem is we don't have money," he said, adding that's why he wants the authority to lease the Ohio Turnpike. "It will give us more resources to be able to do more infrastructure."
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