Ohio Became Stronger, More Prosperous In 2013
A Guest Column by Senator Gayle Manning
December 31, 2013
 
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For the past three years, I’ve had the great privilege of serving and representing our community in the Ohio Statehouse.  Everything we do in the Senate comes back to one simple goal: to make Ohio the best possible place to live, work, and raise your family.  In 2013, that goal remained the primary force behind our work.
 
This year, I’ve also had the opportunity to serve as the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, which has given me the leverage I need to advance the public works projects that are important to our district and all districts across the state.
 
While its primary focus is public safety, I believe the $7.6 billion transportation budget that was approved by my committee also serves as one of the greatest job-creation initiatives of this legislative session. The bill included a plan to fund highway projects with $1.5 billion in Ohio Turnpike bonds.  As a lifelong Northeast Ohioan, I introduced an amendment that ensured 90 percent of the funds raised by the bonds, projected at up to $3 billion, will be spent on projects within 75 miles of the Turnpike.  With this investment we will do more than build better roads in Northeast Ohio, we will also employ up to 65,000 hardworking Ohioans along the way.
 
As with the state’s infrastructure projects, careful investment in education and workforce development is an important part of strengthening the state’s economy. This year’s biennial budget provides $2 million to the Manufacturing and Workforce Development Initiative, half of which will be invested right here in Northeast Ohio to create advanced training programs for students at Lorain County Community College.
 
Having taught 3rd grade for 37 years, I know how important primary and secondary education is to a child’s development.  That’s why we invested an additional $78 million in early childhood education over the next two years. Through that investment we were able to secure $100,000 to help the “Ready, Set, Go... to Kindergarten” initiative based out of Elyria.
 
Ohioans take pride in taking care of each other, and my colleagues and I in the Senate know the importance of supporting the diversity of our communities.  In doing so, we increased funding for the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission by 19% in fiscal year 2015 to help serve Ohio’s fastest-growing demographic population.
 
Just three years ago, we eliminated a projected $8 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes and just this year, we’ve worked to modernize the state’s Medicaid Program, which is expected to save taxpayers up to $8 billion by 2020.  By getting our state’s fiscal house in order and being wise stewards of the people’s hard-earned tax dollars, we’ve made these important investments in Ohio’s economy, infrastructure, and education system possible and I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to do in 2013 to ensure the investments we make will have a measurable and lasting impact for future generations. 

 
 
 
  
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