Jobs bills will encourage business expansion in Ohio

When it comes to job creation and economic growth in Ohio, the sense of urgency is undeniable. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, since 2007 nearly 350,000 Ohio jobs were lost and more than 300 companies suffered plant closings or mass layoffs.

Every month, Ohioans who are starving for jobs are hit with the news that yet another company has chosen to relocate to another state with a better business climate. We as legislators have an obligation to work to improve our business climate, support entrepreneurship and create jobs.  

As a 30-year business owner and former president of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, I know that it is vitally important to investigate why businesses choose to leave Ohio, especially considering the enormous business cost and personal expenses to do so. As such, I introduced two bills to improve Ohio’s business environment and foster more entrepreneurial growth within our borders.

Representative Terry Boose and I proposed House Bill 337 to track company exodus from Ohio. Specifically, this bill would require the Ohio Department of Development to assemble annual reports identifying companies that left Ohio to analyze the motivation behind relocating. House Bill 337 can provide the Legislature with valuable information about why we continue to bleed jobs. By concretely tracking why companies chose to abandon Ohio, the Legislature will be able to create competitive House Bills to retain the companies we have while luring businesses back.  

Additionally, Representative Jarrod Martin and I introduced an innovative bill that demonstrates that Ohio is open for business and encourages creativity in the workplace. If the employee and employer both voluntarily agree, House Bill 320 would provide more flexibility by allowing an employer to provide compensatory time, or paid time off work. The intent of this proposal is to enable employers to provide a more family-friendly work environment by providing flexibility for their employees. It also allows an employer the ability to allow paid time off during slow periods of the business cycle, maintaining benefits and diminishing layoffs or gaps in employment. When enacted, this crucial legislation will help small businesses stay afloat during difficult times by not forcing them to drown under laws and mandates. 

In early December I had the honor of offering sponsor testimony in committee for both of these bills. I am pleased that I was able to play a central role in crafting initiatives that will create jobs for our community. As your voice in the Statehouse, I will continue, as I always have, to work to create, retain and attract jobs to get Ohioans back to work.  As I continue to say, ‘It’s All About Jobs!’ 

I appreciate the many phone calls, emails and letters my office has received this year. Your feedback has been a vital part of my work here in Columbus. I encourage you to continue to contact my office with your questions or concerns. You may write to me at Representative Nan Baker, 77 S. High Street, 10th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215.  You may also email me at 

Nan Baker is the State Representative for Ohio's 16th District and lives in Westlake.

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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 8:10 AM, 12.14.2009