The two months of 2011 have certainly been busy at the Statehouse. Senate legislation on collective bargaining has been the talk of the town—and the state, for that matter. But I also want bring to your attention a number of ways that the Ohio House of Representatives has recently been working to revitalize our state’s economy and create jobs for people like those in Fayette, Pickaway and Ross counties.

As your representative, my focus has been to put Ohioans back to work, spend our money efficiently and balance our state budget. From my first day in office, this has been my priority, and it will continue to be in the future. That’s why I’m proud of several bills that have been passed by the Ohio House this year.

One of the bills that will breathe life back into our state is House Bill 2, which will help to reduce wasteful government spending and ensure our government’s efficiency by requiring the Ohio auditor to carry out performance audits of certain state agencies on a biennial basis. By doing this, we can save taxpayer dollars and ensure that we do not face higher taxes and disorganized government in the future. This bill has gone to the Senate for further consideration.

Both chambers of the Legislature recently collaborated on legislation that will help small businesses, a true economic engine in the 85th House district. This legislation—Senate Bill 2 and its companion, House Bill 94—sets up a new procedure for evaluating rules and regulations from the state government that could potentially hurt these businesses. Overregulation is a job-killer in this state, and Senate Bill 2, which has now been put to law, ensures that the State of Ohio can be a business partner—not discourage these firms from growing in Ohio.

We also passed House Bill 58, which is estimated to save Ohio’s families and businesses approximately $48.5 million during the next three fiscal years. This legislation authorizes the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.” It’s a two-year extension of federal tax cuts, and it extends benefits for unemployed Ohioans for up to an additional 20 weeks—benefitting nearly 160,000 Ohioans. In addition, it includes a provision to give a tax credit to businesses that receive offers to relocate to other states. I believe it is essential that we offer the incentives to keep jobs in the Buckeye state.

Keeping jobs here and making our state competitive is also why I’m excited about the creation of JobsOhio, which was enacted through House Bill 1—the first legislation the House passed this General Assembly. JobsOhio is a non-profit, private entity that is made up of business leaders who know how to create jobs and quickly address the problems our local businesses are facing in today’s economy. It will work in conjunction with the Department of Development, and I believe it will go a long way in keeping bureaucracy out of the way and simplifying the efforts of job creators in Ohio.

Make no mistake, our economy is still in a very delicate condition. However, I believe that this recent legislation will help to ensure that this state is moving in the right direction. I am looking forward to the Legislature taking even more action toward building a better Ohio by improving our business climate. As always, I welcome your ideas as to how this can be done. With the right solutions, Ohio can be the prosperous and competitive state that it once was.


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