Kasich to call for balanced budget, tax cuts, entitlement reform

Story highlights

  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich promised to balance the federal budget within eight years
  • Kasich is also calling for income tax cuts and entitlement reforms

Washington (CNN)Ohio Gov. John Kasich played to his key strength Thursday, rolling out a fiscal plan that he promised would balance the federal budget in eight years, while cutting taxes and reforming federal entitlement programs.

Kasich also promised to severely pare back the Department of Transportation and Department of Education, by sending schools and road money back to the states in the form of grants.
Kasich's proposal -- the first major policy rollout from his campaign -- comes as he has been slipping in national polls and looks to New Hampshire to shore up his support. His campaign posted the "Kasich Action Plan" to his website Thursday morning, shortly before he outlined it during an event at Nashua Community College.
    "In my lifetime, I can't remember a time when our nation waits for bad things to happen to us. We need to take control of our future now," Kasich said to applause from the crowd in Nashua. "Today I lay out my vision for lifting our nation by reclaiming our power, by reclaiming our money and by reclaiming our influence from Washington."
    Kasich has made his role in helping craft the last balanced federal budget, when he was House Budget chairman almost two decades ago, the centerpiece of his White House bid.
    In his plan, he promised he would reduce the number of income tax brackets from seven to three and reduce the top rate from 39.6% to 28%. He also calls for eliminating the federal estate tax, dubbed by conservatives as the "death tax," and increasing the earned income tax credit, which helps low-income people.
    Kasich would also rely on limits in Medicaid spending to balance the budget, but would put together a panel to examine Social Security reforms. Kasich took heat last week after he said that people who didn't want cuts in their Social Security benefits would have to "get over it."