From the start of this General Assembly, members of the Ohio Senate have been focused on getting Ohioans back to work and making our state a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs. As part of that effort, legislation creating JobsOhio was one of the first bills we passed last year.

JobsOhio is a new, innovative approach to economic development in Ohio. While our previous economic development strategy was certainly effective, it had not kept up with the ever-changing pace of the business world - and Ohio was losing out. JobsOhio has overhauled our efforts to attract and retain business in our state, allowing us to move more swiftly and decisively on new opportunities. As a result, we have added more than 120,000 new jobs in Ohio since January 2011, making us fourth in the nation and first in the Midwest in terms of jobs creation.

While this progress is certainly welcome news, we still have a long way to go. Improving our overall business climate, continuing to streamline government regulations and bolstering workforce training are also necessary if we want to strengthen our environment for jobs. That is why we recently approved Senate Bill 314, legislation that builds on the work started with JobsOhio by restructuring the Department of Development into the Development Services Agency (DSA). The DSA will provide essential services such as oversight relating to the administration of loans and tax credits used to assist businesses in Ohio, and will work in conjunction with JobsOhio.

Additionally, SB 314 establishes a new initiative to help boost another major driver of our economy - tourism. Tourists spent $40.3 billion in Ohio in 2011, and roughly one in every 11.5 jobs is sustained by the tourism industry, so any effort to better promote our state and all it has to offer visitors will undoubtedly pay dividends. SB 314 creates the Office of TourismOhio to help improve the state's tourism efforts, and the TourismOhio Advisory Board - comprised of industry experts - will provide guidance on how best to promote tourism throughout the state. The new office will be funded by a five-year pilot program that links funding to growth in sales tax revenues of tourism-related industries.

SB 314 goes into effect later this month, and officials are already preparing so that both DSA and TourismOhio can hit the ground running. Moving forward, my colleagues and I will continue to pursue policies that give our state a competitive edge when it comes to job creation.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or concerns about any of the matters we are discussing at the Statehouse. You can reach my office by phone at (614) 466-0626, by e-mail at Oelslager@ohiosenate.gov or by writing State Senator Scott Oelslager, Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215.
State Senator Scott Oelslager represents the 29th District for the Ohio Senate, which includes portions of Stark County. For more information, please visit http://OhioSenate.gov/Oelslager.
 
 
 
  
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