Reflecting On Ohio's Economic Success In 2015
A Guest Column by State Senator Scott Oelslager
January 14, 2016
 
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COLUMBUS - 

As we embark on 2016, I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight some of this past year’s positive developments and projects looking forward. 

Job creation, economic development, and spending restraint were the pillars of Ohio’s success in 2015. We crafted a balanced budget that protects the state’s strong economic condition. In fact, we have reached a balance of over $2 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. While the state was saving this money, we were able to lower personal income tax rates by 6.3 percent. We also cut taxes for small business owners who are pass-through entities. The first $250,000 in net income is now 75% exempt from state taxes and will be 100 percent exempt from state taxes starting in fiscal year 2017.

I strongly believe that investing in education prepares students for college and leads to career success. This past year an additional $44 million was given to low-wealth school districts to make sure that all Ohio students have what they need to grow and learn. The Ohio General Assembly also recognized the importance of higher education by increasing funding to the College Credit Plus program. This program is designed to help parents and students save time and money by allowing students to earn college credits while still in high school.  

Job creation remains Ohio’s top priority, as Ohio’s unemployment rate continues to decline. The state’s unemployment rate has dropped from 5.1% in December 2014 to 4.4% in November 2015.  

All the hard work and smart budget decisions in 2015 added to the positive momentum that has been built over the past three years. We have made these strides through the strong leadership of Governor Kasich, my colleagues in the General Assembly and through the partnership with educators, local officials, business leaders, and constituents.

According to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, the state’s economy is growing and we have seen improvements such as the strengthening of our labor markets. This is no doubt a result of our focus on strengthening Ohio’s economy.

The Office of Budget and Management recently released Ohio’s annual financial report for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2015. The Ohio Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is now available on the Office of Budget and Management’s website at: 

http://obm.ohio.gov/StateAccounting/financialreporting/doc/cafr/2015/cafr_2015.pdf

This report underscores a sustainable future and continued economic success for Ohio. I am pleased to share the news that Ohio has great potential for continued economic growth in 2016, as both employment and personal income stability spreads throughout the state. This is good news for our families, young job seekers, experienced workforce, small businesses, entrepreneurs and manufacturers.  

Looking ahead to 2016, as Chairman of the Senate Finance committee, I will begin to review capital budget requests from communities all across Ohio. The capital budget will play an important role in our economic development efforts as we prepare legislation aimed at supporting neighborhood renewal and revitalization.  

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns about the matters we are discussing at the Statehouse. I can be reached by phone at (614) 466-0626, by e-mail at Oelslager@OhioSenate.gov or by writing State Senator Scott Oelslager, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215. 

 
 
 
  
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