Ohio’s Business Climate Needs to Be the Focus of the Legislature
With the 128th General Assembly coming to a close in just two short months, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the residents of the 46th Ohio House District for their input and suggestions on how we can restore Ohio’s economy. Based on my conversations with constituents and the many calls, letters and emails my office has received during the past 22 months, an overwhelming number of people within our community believe that Ohio’s business climate is one of the key factors in our state’s inability to retain jobs. As such, I have introduced or supported numerous initiatives to get Ohioans back to work and make our business climate more competitive.
One of the inevitable tasks the legislature will need to undertake is reform of our state programs and agencies, which would make our government leaner, more efficient and more accountable. In order to render cost-savings for the state and the taxpayers, I sponsored House Bill 240 to rein in the skyrocketing cost of Ohio’s Medicaid. Currently, Medicaid spending in Ohio is surpassing 40 percent of our budget, with spending in FY 2010 at upwards of $13.4 billion. This rate of growth is unsustainable, especially with the $8 billion deficit we will face in the next budget. To address this crisis, HB 240 would enact more than $122 million in waste-reduction measures that were recommended by the Auditor of State. By trimming waste, fraud and abuse from Ohio’s Medicaid, we can not only save the taxpayers a significant amount of money each year, but also make the program more effective for the people it serves.
In addition to pursuing government reform initiatives this General Assembly, I also worked to facilitate business growth and job creation in Ohio. I recently introduced legislation to revitalize brownfields and help promote economic development in struggling communities. House Bill 569 would authorize a refundable tax credit through 2015 for remediation of a contaminated site and returning the site to productive use. If enacted, this bill would allow businesses a great opportunity to expand, while helping our communities to thrive by using land that has been left empty. It’s a rare occasion to be able to solve multiple problems with one answer, and I encourage my colleagues across the aisle to move swiftly on HB 569 when the House reconvenes for session in November.
House Bills 240 and 569 are viable steps toward making Ohio’s business climate more attractive and competitive with other states. These are just two of the many bills I have worked on during this General Assembly to get Ohio’s economy back on track. We need to do everything we can to ensure that our state is able to keep up in the race for jobs and economic growth. As is, our government is too top-heavy and our tax structure too burdensome to compete nationally, but with pragmatic steps such as these, we can bring about a brighter future for our great state.
Rep. Sears may be reached by calling (614) 466-1731 or by writing to: Representative Barbara Sears, 77 S. High Street, 10th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215. You may also email her at District46@ohr.state.oh.us.