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Government stifles growth

Want perfect proof that government can’t get out of its own way long enough to allow for positive growth and the economy to fix itself? Look no farther than eastern Lawrence County.

At a time when the state of Ohio and the entire nation is struggling with growing unemployment rates and the economy has yet to return to anything close to full strength, bureaucracy and regulations that are out of touch with reality are stifling progress and effectively killing the development of 125 jobs.

That is exactly what happened when the Ohio Department of Health denied businessman Ron Lyons an extension on the “certificate of need” for a 35-bed nursing home in the Proctorville area.

Lyons had purchased the certificate that had a two-year lifespan in January 2008 with the plans to build a $16 million assisted living nursing home and a $15-$20 million retirement community in the eastern end of the county.

Then the bottom dropped out of the economy.

That and some of the other red-tape issues stemming from dealing with the government and financing a private development project like this during a massive recession put Lyons behind schedule. So he asked ODH for an extension.

Defying all logic, that extension was denied by the state.

So, we have someone trying to do something positive, create jobs and make a significant investment in the community and our government agencies cannot see the reality of the situation?

The director of the Ohio Department of Health owes Ron Lyons and the citizens of Lawrence County answers on this and he should deliver them himself.

Tell us why a timeline is more important than the economic future of our region. Tell us why rules are so rigid that they actually deter growth and leave no room for flexibility. Tell us why our elderly citizens don’t deserve the same opportunities present elsewhere.

If this is the help that our state and federal government is going to give us, there is something wrong with that picture.