Looking back at the accomplishments of 2011

As 2012 begins, I thought this would be a good opportunity to re-cap what has been accomplished in the first half of the 129th General Assembly. Our focus from the beginning has been creating jobs and improving the state’s economy. Here is a taste of what we’ve accomplished thus far:

  • State Operating Budget: Through the passage of the biennial budget, we filled the state’s $8-billion budget deficit without raising taxes, while retaining many vital public services that citizens depend on.
  • Personal Income Tax Reduction: Annually since 2006 – excluding 2010 – four percent each year of the collection of income taxes has been reduced. In that time, Ohio went from being the seventh-most-taxed state to the 16th.
  • Creation of InvestOhio: Part of the budget was implementing InvestOhio, which permits investors to collect an income tax credit for investment of up to $10 million in eligible small businesses. This is a major step forward in linking small businesses with the money they need to grow and create jobs.
  • Enhancing the Ohio Business Gateway: The legislature is working with the Department of Administrative Services to enhance the online Small Business Resource Center on the Ohio Business Gateway. Numerous legislators have met with business advocates to keep businesses, and thus jobs, in the state.
  • Continuing Ohio Third Frontier Program: Passed by the voters in 2010, Ohio Third Frontier is an ongoing commitment to create technology-based products, companies, industries and jobs in Ohio.
  • JobsOhio: The creation of JobsOhio, a non-profit panel of economic experts will work to encourage out-of-state businesses to come to Ohio and existing businesses to stay here.
  • Performance Audits for State Agencies: House Bill 2 grants the Auditor of State the authority to conduct performance audits on state agencies to ensure that no public funds or resources are being wasted during tough economic times.
  • Repeal of the Estate Tax: Ohio is one of only 13 states that levies an estate tax. Repealing this tax will encourage retirees to remain in the state, as well as their businesses and investments, without fear that their heirs will not receive their assets. It is scheduled to take effect January 2013.
  • Small Business Regulatory Reform: House Bill 94 assists small businesses that often struggle to comply with the ever-changing regulatory environment, which is a noble effort to keep businesses afloat and citizens employed.
  • Oil and Gas Leasing on State Lands: House Bill 133 created the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission, which will oversee the leasing and development of Ohio’s natural resources on publicly owned land. Some estimates have concluded that drilling for oil and natural gas in the state could create more than 200,000 jobs.
  • Incentives for Using Vacant Property: The mass exodus of businesses large and small from Ohio has left behind many abandoned buildings. New and expanding companies could revitalize these buildings. That is why House Bill 18 is designed to offer a tax incentive to businesses moving into vacant facilities, which are often located in places with high unemployment and people ready to work.

As you can see, last year was busy, and I look forward to working hard again this year to improve Ohio’s economy.

Nan Baker

State Representative 16th Ohio House District

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 12:17 PM, 01.10.2012