After one year of sky-high unemployment, our community needs jobs

As a long-time resident of Cuyahoga County, it is heartbreaking to see thousands of our friends and neighbors losing their jobs or struggling to put food on the table. With Ohio’s unemployment rate at 10.9 percent, families have now endured 12 consecutive months of double-digit unemployment. They are looking to their elected leaders to guide our state out of this recession and do what it takes to create jobs. While serving as your state representative in Columbus, I have fought to create the environment to retain, create and attract jobs for those back home who are barely making ends meet in this difficult economy.

Ohio has joined the ranks of many states that have raised taxes in an effort to fill budget deficits. However, soaking the taxpayers in financial burdens that discourage economic activity has actually had the opposite effect in Ohio. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs have left our state, taking jobs and investments with them. We must stop the bleeding.

Over the past decade, more than 350,000 Ohioans have relocated to better tax environments. Our tax code has left the middle class taxpayers to shoulder the heavy tax burden and job loss when businesses relocate to other states. As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to make our state as competitive and prosperous as possible, which at this time means reexamining how Ohio does business and how we can make improvements.

Based on my experience as a small business owner and knowing the challenges that many businesses are facing, I believe the best way to bring jobs to this state is to repair Ohio’s tax code. We can accomplish this by making state government as efficient as possible, which would lower the tax liability on both the taxpayers and business owners—making it easier to do business here.

It is not enough to simply be competitive here in the Midwest; Ohio’s business climate must be competitive with the likes of Texas, Georgia and the other states of the south and west if we hope to keep up in the increasingly cutthroat economy. However, unless we fundamentally improve the tax and regulatory climate here in the Buckeye state, we have virtually no hope of attracting jobs and saving our economy.

I remain hopeful that our House Republican “Future of Ohio” 10 job-focused bills will receive consideration in the House, because I believe that they have the potential to provide the solutions to get Ohio moving again. Although none of these proposals have received a vote in the House, there is still time to move forward on these bills before the House adjourns for summer recess. As your voice in Columbus, I will continue to fight to create the environment to retain and create jobs for our community. As I continue to say, “It’s All About Jobs!”

Nan Baker is the State Representative for Ohio's 16th District and lives in Westlake. She may be reached at (614) 466-0961 or by writing to: Representative Nan Baker, 77 S. High Street, 10th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215. You may also email her at District16@ohr.state.oh.us.

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Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 10:18 AM, 05.24.2010