Lawmakers work to reenergize Ohio

State Representative Nan Baker (R-Westlake) has unveiled proposals by Ohio House Republicans to spur economic development. Baker and other members of the House Republican Caucus, including Minority Leader William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) and Representatives Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), Todd Snitchler (R-Uniontown), Dave Hall (R-Killbuck), and Terry Boose (R-Norwalk), revealed extensive plans to bring about job creation and industry growth.  

“During this economic crisis, with everything at stake, Ohio cannot afford another second of inaction on the part of House leadership,” Baker said. “As the ranking minority member of the House Economic Development Committee, I have become increasingly frustrated by the Democrat leadership’s unwillingness or inability to lead. Therefore, House Republicans worked tirelessly over summer recess to create a collection of economic proposals that could potentially turn the economy around.”

The press conference, in conjunction with four other conferences across the state, was conducted to address the failure of the Democrat-controlled Economic Development Committee to conduct regular, productive hearings on the economic condition of Ohio.  

“The Republican caucus is focused on what Ohioans care about the most – jobs and economic development,” Batchelder said. “While Democrats have not given priority to the creation of jobs, we have been working on solutions for Ohio’s economy.”

“So far, the Democrats have not shown that they are willing to make any important decisions regarding economic development within our state,” Hall said. “How many more businesses and young people need to flee the state before the Democrats decide they need to act?” 

Frustrated with inaction on the part of Governor Strickland and the Economic Development Committee, Republican members engaged in discussions with the local business community for ideas to revamp Ohio's economy. Based on their findings from market research and conversations with constituents, the House Republicans created a package of proposals that were announced at the press conferences and will be introduced in the coming weeks.

“In presenting a package of economic proposals, our goal is to spark an honest, constructive debate about the best course of action for Ohio’s future,” Amstutz said. “House Republicans have a specific plan in place to bring about economic recovery, but since the onset of this General Assembly our voices have been silenced, regardless of how practical our ideas were.”  

Among these ten bills are proposals to offer employer tax credits to hire unemployed Ohioans and to grant income tax credits for college graduates who remain in Ohio. Altogether, these bills are designed to provide resources to small businesses, offer incentives for businesses and young people to remain in Ohio, and track Ohio's progress in rebuilding its economy.

“This recession is affecting all Ohioans, both Republican and Democrats,” Snitchler said. “We need to all work together to provide a solid foundation for Ohio’s economic future. We encourage lawmakers at all levels of government to consider our proposals and use them as they wish—changing the course of Ohio is what is important, not receiving credit or praise.”

The House Economic Development Committee has only met four times since the commencement of the 128th General Assembly and has yet to pass a single bill. The only item to pass out of committee was an ineffectual House Resolution that created the Compact With Ohio Cities Task Force, which focuses on local municipalities rather than the economic health of the entire state.

"Ohioans have entrusted us to make difficult decisions during difficult times, and we have an obligation to uphold our commitment,” Boose said. “This is not the time to coast. This is not the time to sit back with our fingers crossed. Ohio needs action, and if the Democrats won’t step up to the plate then we will.”  
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Volume 1, Issue 4, Posted 11:57 AM, 09.21.2009