As the former mayor of Westerville, I have invested much of my energy into reviving the local economy and bringing jobs to our region. Now, as a newly elected representative in the People’s House, I have the great honor of working on behalf of our community to create jobs in the state as a whole.

As I’m sure you know, Ohio’s economy has fallen into a sort of doldrums, with other states racing ahead of us in the competition for economic growth and job creation. Everyone has their own ideas about why this is happening and in such a devastating way to Ohio, from high taxes to Midwestern weather. But the truth is, the most likely culprit is our state’s lackluster business climate due to high taxes and burdensome regulation—as well as the incentives that many other states are using to entice our exhausted businesses.

The concept of using incentives packages to draw businesses out of Ohio is nothing new. Dayton’s NCR was given more than $100 million in incentives to relocate to Georgia. In northwest Ohio, three plants that relocated to Indiana were offered $4 million in incentives leave the Buckeye State.

With more and more states using incentives packages to lure businesses from Ohio, it is important to consider incentives that we can offer to motivate businesses to remain in our state. Rather than looking at ways to nickel-and-dime businesses to feed state spending, what are we doing to encourage businesses to remain here—or better yet, expand and create more jobs for our communities? This is an economic development tactic that I believe is being underutilized in Ohio and should receive a closer look over the next several years.

There are currently two economic development bills making their way through the House Ways and Means Committee that, when enacted, will provide new tax incentive options to encourage businesses to expand or create jobs. One of these bills, House Bill 17, authorizes a $2,400 income tax withholding credit for an employer who hires and employs a previously unemployed individual. Introduced by Rep. Nan Baker, House Bill 17 is just one of the ways lawmakers can motivate employers to create jobs for our communities.

Also introduced by Rep. Baker, House Bill 18 will authorize a nonrefundable tax credit for businesses that increase payroll and expand into a vacant facility. The intent behind this legislation is to revitalize communities that have been hit hard by job loss and industry deterioration by replacing those lost businesses. Together, House Bills 17 and 18 will address Ohio’s economic struggle on two fronts by easing some of the financial pressures that many local businesses have experienced, while at the same time creating opportunities for Ohioans to get back to work.

As these and other economy-focused bills move through the legislative process, I will do my best to keep you informed about what is going on in the Statehouse. It is my honor and privilege to serve as your voice in the People’s House, and as we seek sustainable solutions to Ohio’s economic woes, remember that we are in this together.


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