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Reports shows way to success

Ohio has the opportunity to reach the bright future on the horizon — and it now h­as a roadmap to get there.

A report recently released by the Greater Ohio Policy Center and Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program outlined nearly 40 recommendations that it believes would help Ohio rebound from the economic woes that have plagued the state and the entire nation.

“Our goal is for the report’s recommendations to usher in a new era of prosperity in Ohio by outlining concrete policies that transform the way the state conducts business and open the way to innovative practices at the local level to take advantage of Ohio’s many assets,” Lavea Brachman, Greater Ohio co-director, Brookings Non-Resident Senior Fellow and a co-author of the report, said in a prepared release.

Specific proposals for success include:

 Maintain the Third Frontier program.

 Pass a package of foreclosure prevention and corrective action legislation.

 Cut the number of Ohio school districts by at least one-third.

 Determine the true costs of Ohio’s proliferation of local governments.

 Compete aggressively for federal investments in clean energy, industry cluster development, and advanced manufacturing.

The report also showed some statistics that should raise significant concerns, many of them focused on the local level.

These include:

 Ohio ranks 47th in the nation in the share of elementary and secondary education spending for instruction, and 9th in the share that goes to administration. Ohio’s share of spending on school district administration is 49 percent higher than the national average.

 Local government payroll in Ohio is 17.5 percent above the average of peer states. As a percentage of per capita income, Ohioans have the 9th highest local tax burden in the U.S.

 In 2008, 40 percent of surveyed Ohio employers had a hard or very hard time finding qualified workers.

The full report is available online at www.greaterohio.org.

It took more than two and a half years to compile this report and will likely take much longer to implement some of these changes. But, at least now, there is a map to get there.