Monday, May 24, 2010

One Year of Democratic Principles Maintains Ohio’s Double-Digit Jobless

COLUMBUS—Ohio House Republicans amiably encouraged a public discussion with their legislative colleagues to address the fact that Ohio has now faced an entire year of double-digit unemployment.

“As lawmakers, it is our responsibility to the people we represent to work in a bipartisan manner. However, Ohio House Democrats continue to push frivolous legislation that ignores the real needs of Ohioans,” said Asst. Leader Louis W. Blessing (R-Cincinnati). “At a time when Ohio and Michigan are national leaders in unemployment, I can’t help but wonder – if job creation isn’t their priority, then what is?”

Ohio’s unemployment rate is consistently higher than the national average, with 10.9 percent of Ohioans unemployed compared with 9.9 percent of Americans. After 17 months of legislative follies, pandering policies and complete Democratic neglect of job creation, House Republicans are actively seeking a public discussion with their counterparts on how to repair Ohio’s economy.

“As a small business owner, I see firsthand the effects of the mistakes made by Governor Strickland and his Democratic allies,” said House Republican Whip John Adams (R-Sidney). “The Buckeye state needs job creation and real economic relief, not political maneuvers. We should take up legislation to address this continuing problem before the Speaker considers adjourning the House for summer recess.”

One answer to Ohio’s economic woes is House Bill 25, a measure to reduce spending and consolidate Ohio’s government bloat. Currently, Ohio’s government has 24 cabinet departments and more than 300 boards, commissions, task forces and councils under the executive branch alone. This structure has led to duplicative services and staffing inefficiencies, as well as misuse of tax dollars. House Bill 25 will consolidate state government into 11 agencies, which will improve Ohio’s business environment, save the taxpayers approximately $1 billion, and help address Ohio’s imminent $8 billion deficit. This will result in government services being administered more efficiently and effectively to those Ohioans who need it the most.

“House Democrats need to be open to a fundamental change in how we operate in Columbus,” said Adams. “They’ve had numerous opportunities to get this state back on track by improving the business climate and making our tax code more competitive, but every sensible solution has been ignored. It’s long overdue that they step up to the plate and be the leaders that Ohioans asked for, instead of procrastinating the decisions that need to be made.”

House Bill 25 is a vital component of the “Future of Ohio” government reform package, a collection of 10 bills to get government spending under control, reduce government waste and improve Ohio’s business climate. However, since its introduction in February 2009, this legislation has only received one committee hearing. The House Republican Caucus remains hopeful that this and other cost-saving, job-creation measures will receive further committee hearings after an open, bipartisan discussion.