Since joining the Ohio Senate, I have focused on improving the state’s business climate and setting the stage for economic growth. In recent years we have lowered Ohioans’ tax burden by about $5 billion – among the largest tax cuts in the country. We also passed significant regulatory reforms to help get rid of bureaucratic red tape and regulations that harm small businesses and stand in the way of job creation. I supported performance audits of state agencies, to ensure that your tax dollars are being spent wisely and that government services are provided as efficiently as possible.

During the current legislative session, I have supported significant small business tax reforms, and I co-sponsored legislation to cut the filing fee for starting a new business by nearly 21 percent. I also sponsored corporate law reforms, which take effect this month and will make Ohio a more attractive place to form a business.

These changes were made with one goal in mind: To make Ohio a place where the economy can grow and everyone who wants a job can find one. And while there is always room for improvement, these types of pro-growth policies are having an effect. There are a lot of reasons for optimism here in Ohio, as several announcements from the last few weeks make clear.

First, Ohio’s jobs numbers are going up. Ohio lost roughly 350,000 jobs during the Great Recession. Frankly, compared to many other states, Ohio was hurting even before the recession began. But since January 2011 Ohio employers have added more than 400,000 new private sector jobs. These new jobs cover a wide range of sectors, from manufacturing to health care and everything in between. The most recent monthly jobs report shows that while U.S. job growth is lackluster, Ohio keeps chugging along. In May 2016 Ohio accounted for nearly 25 percent of all new jobs nationwide.

Second, according to the most recent data available, Ohio’s economy is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the nation. In fact, Ohio’s GDP growth is 70 percent higher than the national average. For the fourth quarter of 2015, the nation’s GDP grew at a rate of only 1.7 percent. Ohio, on the other hand, had the third-highest growth rate in the country, at 2.9 percent.

Finally, Ohio set a record for new business formations in 2015 and is on pace to break that record again this year. Secretary of State Jon Husted recently released the new business filing statistics for May. Nearly 8,600 new entities filed to do business in Ohio that month, significantly exceeding May 2015.

Of course, we should be careful not to read too much into these statistics. They are just a snapshot, and some months are better than others. But they do show that the state is headed in the right direction in a host of areas, including job creation and overall economic growth.

There is always room for improvement. Ohio must keep its momentum going and build on the progress that we have made. My colleagues and I will remain focused on improving our business climate and strengthening the economy. 

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