Over the past two years, the state legislature has strived to create commonsense reforms that will produce real results. Many of the job growth bills passed during this General Assembly have already begun to make a difference in the lives of our citizens. Ohio’s unemployment rate has dropped at twice the national rate, going from 9 percent in January 2011 to 7.2 percent today.

JobsOhio has been a major player in this turnaround. Created by the passage of House Bill 1 last year, the economic development body specifically focuses on attracting employment opportunities to our borders and retaining the jobs already here. Since its creation, more than 111,000 jobs have been created in Ohio.

Earlier this summer, the Ohio House passed legislation that builds on the success of JobsOhio. House Bill 489, along with its companion legislation Senate Bill 314, completes the transition from the Ohio Department of Development to the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). I was glad to carry the bill through the House with my colleague, Mike Dovilla. Together, we understood that making additional improvements to JobsOhio will give our state the tools to meet the unique and rapidly changing needs of businesses.

Additionally, HB 489 establishes a five-year pilot program known as TourismOhio. The program will be funded by the growth in sales tax revenue generated by tourism-related industries. This is a sound and promising investment for Ohioans. In 2011 we saw a substantial return on investment of $14 for every $1 the state invested. Considering that the tourism industry is such a monumental part of Ohio’s economy—accounting for 439,000 jobs—the expectations are high. All of this is an attempt to further bolster the state’s tourism businesses and attractions specifically, but at the same time the state’s economy as a whole.

It is one thing to dedicate yourself to combating a sluggish economy, but quite another to find viable, innovative solutions to the problem. I have always been committed to getting Stark County and Ohioans back to work, and I believe the policies that have been enacted will make that come true.


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