Washington fights hurting Ohio

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Since January 2011, Ohio has added more than 112,000 jobs and our unemployment rate is nearly a full point under the national rate. This has made us the top job creator in the Midwest, and is a testament to our pursuit of policies and initiatives that have focused on reforming government and improving our business environment.

We overhauled our approach to economic development with the creation of JobsOhio and sought to ensure that our business regulations did not unnecessarily hinder the ability of companies to create jobs.

In addition, we strengthened our oil and gas industry regulations, consolidated a number of state programs and offices to make government more efficient, passed a series of regulatory reform bills such as the Common Sense Initiative, and lowered taxes. This dramatically improves the business climate in Ohio, making us a more appealing place to grow and locate business.

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Making these changes was not easy, but it was necessary to put our state back on the path to prosperity.

We realize that we still have work to do in getting Ohioans back to work, but in order to reach our full potential, we need our leaders in Washington to give us a little help — and they could take some cues from what we’ve been able to accomplish in Ohio.

Most of the bills we’ve passed during this legislative session have received bipartisan support — demonstrating a commitment by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to improving our state and creating jobs.

Unfortunately, it seems that our counterparts in Congress and the U.S. Senate are more interested in fighting with each other than in addressing the many issues facing businesses and families.

I realize that people often have diverging views on a particular topic, but even when people do agree on a portion of a piece of legislation — that progress is held up due to differences over another section.

This has led to important legislation dealing with farming, environmental regulations and other reforms in limbo — with little guidance as to when, and if, they will ever get approved.

For the many employers and businesses that are waiting on the results of these changes, inaction only serves to further delay any plans they may have had for expansion or new projects.

What’s truly worrisome about this gridlock is that it inhibits our ability at the state level to make additional progress.

Without guidance about what changes or reforms may be headed our way, state leaders can’t take some actions to further streamline government and improve its efficiency, as those efforts might lead us to having conflicting sets of rules and regulations.

We’ve made great progress in the past year in creating an environment in Ohio that encourages businesses to grow and expand.

Now it’s time for Washington to take action so we can continue the progress we’ve made in getting government out of the way so that employers can focus on creating jobs instead of dealing with red tape.


Senator Bob Peterson represents the 17th Ohio Senate District, which encompasses Clinton, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Pike, Ross and Vinton counties and portions of Lawrence and Pickaway counties. He can be reached at (614) 466-8156, Peterson@OhioSenate.gov or at Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215. For more information, please visit http://OhioSenate.gov/Peterson.