A call to create jobs for our unemployed neighbors

With nearly 47,000 jobs lost over the past 18 months, my number one goal as your state representative is to create jobs for nearly 100,000 unemployed individuals in our region. My mantra, “It’s all about jobs,” has become much more than a slogan; it has been my motivation throughout the 128th General Assembly as I introduced and co-sponsored legislation to put our hard-working citizens back to work.

I have spearheaded numerous efforts to create conditions for economic recovery in Ohio. Last fall, I unveiled the “Future of Ohio” job creation package, which will keep jobs in Ohio and encourage small businesses to expand. This package of 10 bills includes a tax credit for businesses that expand their payroll and occupy a vacant facility, an online resource portal for small businesses, and an in-depth study of why companies choose to leave the Buckeye state.

However, these efforts alone cannot stop the bleeding of jobs out of our borders. Ohioans are among the highest taxed people in the nation, which means that our residents have less disposable income to invest in our struggling economy. As a result, economic activity is especially sluggish in our state and job growth is stagnant. Reducing the high tax rate and improving Ohio’s business climate is only possible if we eliminate wasteful government spending. Currently, Ohio’s state government operates on a bloated budget that exacerbated the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit and blocked our economic recovery.

My colleagues and I are taking steps to reduce government spending through two important legislative measures: House Bill 65 requires performance audits of state agencies, and House Bill 240 will streamline Medicaid. When enacted, HB 65 could save taxpayers millions of dollars when state agencies put the Auditor of State’s cost-saving recommendations for performance audits into practice.

Similarly, HB 240 requires that the state follow through on recommendations from the Auditor of the State to reduce Medicaid’s inefficiencies. Reforms to the Medicaid system will save the state more than $120 million annually. Both HBs 65 and 240 are vital components of the “Future of Ohio” government reform package, which includes many other cost-saving options for a sustainable, more balanced budget.

While serving as your family’s voice in The People’s House, I have supported legislation that will reduce the amount of your tax dollars that our state government consumes. I would like to see the General Assembly consider the “Future of Ohio” job creation and government reform packages so we can make great strides in recovering our economy.

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

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Volume 2, Issue 15, Posted 9:05 AM, 07.14.2010