Ohio Gov-elect John Kasich, who will inherit the state's budget hole next month, has not said how he plans to fill it. But he continues to reiterate that every idea is on the table – except tax increases. Last week, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kasich was asked to comment on the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's warning that it would have to close prisons and release some inmates to meet a 10 percent budget cut if such a reduction is required.
He suggested that “instead of people whining,” the department should offer some ideas about reducing costs. “I guess the system is just great over at the department of corrections,” he said sarcastically. “We have a system in Ohio where I think [a little] less than half of the people in our prisons are in there for less than a year.  We have people who are check kiters and don’t pay child support and we are locking them up in the state pen.” After checking the facts, the Plain Dealer says Kasich is correct to say the 12-month prison population accounts for a little less than half the overall prison population. It's true there are inmates imprisoned for check kiting and failing to pay child support. While they represent just a small fraction of the population, the governor-elect is basically on point: low-level, non-violent crimes are clogging the system.