Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) says he is "not anti-union" but is intent on creating jobs in Ohio and "it's a matter of restoring some balance" between public and private workers.
Kasich made the remarks during a news conference at the site of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Sunday.
Meanwhile back in Ohio several thousand rallied against Senate Bill 5 at the Statehouse in Columbus. The proposal would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers like firefighters, teachers and police officers.
For those who would point to the possibility of raising taxes to cover the state's budget deficit, "The taxpayers have sacrificed enough," said Kasich. "401k's have been shredded, rising healthcare costs, 9% unemployment... We're not raising taxes."
As far as the protesters Kasich says he thinks some of people who are most upset are against the bill because they don't know what's in it, suggesting that the union bosses have been feeding them bogus rumors. "Teachers being told they can make a maximum of $32,000, firefighters and police being told they'll lose their pensions... I don't know where these numbers are coming from."
Kasich also maintains he has nothing against those rallying against him, "they're nice people, they're our neighbors. God bless them, they're worried."
Calling himself a change agent Kasich said he is not surprised by the controversy, "people protesting is part of the process... I deeply believe that what I'm doing will bring prosperity."
Bemoaning the fiscal situation in Ohio, Kasich pointed out 600,000 jobs had been lost in the last ten years and 400,000 in the last four years. "Texas gains as much population in five months as we do in ten years."
Kasich said he talks with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker frequently but not about policy, "I carve out my own agenda." His budget proposal will be released in the coming weeks and Kasich maintains everything he's doing is is aimed at setting the table for entrepreneurship.
In town for the NGA Winter Meeting, Kasich, along with other governors will attend a dinner at the White House Sunday evening as well as a meeting with President Obama on Monday.