After spending the final days of 2011 among family and friends, legislators recently returned to Columbus to continue building on the many accomplishments of the past twelve months. In 2011, Senate Republicans championed various legislative measures aimed at bringing sustained economic growth to Ohio's various regions. From reform initiatives involving government regulation and criminal sentencing to wide-ranging tax relief for Ohio's families, members of the General Assembly have met our state's many challenges head-on and remain committed to working on behalf of residents across the state. It has been made clear that all recovery efforts must be long-lasting and efficient if they are to have any real impact on our state. The time for temporary fixes is behind us, and the bills that we have advocated for are intended to lead us into the future. One particular bill from last year is already making an exceptional impact on Ohio's economic landscape. Signed into law nearly a year ago, House Bill 1 created the JobsOhio initiative. Innovative and unlike anything our state has ever seen, JobsOhio combines public sector resources with business world expertise through a new public-private partnership. Concentrated on growing industries such as aerospace and biohealth, JobsOhio has the clear mission of growing our workforce and expanding investment in Ohio. Thus far, JobsOhio's 245 projects have already brought over $3 billion worth of capital investment to our state. Additionally, 21,000 jobs have been created through these projects and another 82,000 positions have stayed in Ohio thanks to this relatively new effort. Throughout Appalachia, there are a number of businesses already partnering with JobsOhio to expand operations. In the 20th District alone, six projects are currently capitalizing on this renewed economic development effort, including AFC Cable Systems, of Byesville; Edgetech I.G., Inc., of Cambridge; Global Cooling, Inc., of Athens; Meigs County Community Improvement Corporation, of Orange Township; Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., of Zanesville; and the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority, of Marietta. In all, these six projects have led to 350 new jobs and retained nearly 800 existing positions in our region alone. The work conducted by JobsOhio and other workforce initiatives have assisted in lowering Ohio's unemployment rate. Since November our state's unemployment figure has dropped from 9.5-percent to the current 8.1-percent that was announced just days ago. The coming months feature a full slate of issues, including legislation regarding energy exploration and the laws related to wild and dangerous animal ownership. However, jobs and the economy remain front-and-center in making Ohio a more prosperous and business-friendly state. As our work continues, so does the need to be bold. We must never relent when it comes to securing jobs and opportunity for our residents. I look forward to the days ahead and remain confident that 2012 will be a year of great growth for the State of Ohio.
Senator Balderson represents the 20th Senate District of Ohio, which is made up of Athens, Coshocton, Guernsey, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, and Washington Counties
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