Gov. John Kasich’s administration is determined to make Ohio a state to do business in again and that means making drastic, and sometimes controversial, changes, says the state’s lieutenant governor.
“This has been a great opportunity to work with a strong leader who shares my vision of fixing our state,” said Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. “We knew coming into office that there were serious problems and had little time to fix them. For far too many years in the past, prior administrations have kicked the can down the road and we knew we couldn’t kick the can down the road, and we hit the ground running immediately.”
On the day that the State of Ohio passed its $56 billion two-year budget, Taylor talked with Town Hall Ohio about her role as the state’s lieutenant governor.
Gaining & Retaining Jobs
Gaining and retaining jobs is one of Kasich’s top priorities, she said. Ohio ranks third in the country in number of jobs lost over the past 10 years, she said.
“We have to make Ohio a state where businesses want to start up, stay and come to our state, expand their business operations and employ more Ohioans,” said Taylor, who previously was state auditor.
Estate Tax Elimination
Taylor was pleased that legislators were able to close an $8 billion deficit without raising state taxes. She praised a tax credit for those who invest in Ohio companies and the elimination of the estate tax in 2013, an Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) goal for more than two decades.
“To you and the governor, thank you so much for a very open and vigorous debate on the estate tax and for repealing it,” said Jack Fisher, Ohio Farm Bureau’s executive vice president.
Taylor said that as a certified public accountant and wife of a small business owner, she understood how detrimental the estate tax was to farms and small businesses.
“I saw firsthand what the job killing estate tax did for small businesses. Our family farms are impacted potentially more than any other small business in Ohio,” she said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a budget that is finally killing the job killing estate tax.”
No more ‘business as usual’
Taylor emphasized that it’s not “business as usual anymore in Columbus,” pointing out that the Kasich administration is determined to get the private sector involved in creating and maintaining jobs in Ohio through its JobsOhio initiative.
“They know how to create jobs and they know what business owners and entrepreneurs need, and we need to get them involved in that process,” she said.
Senate Bill 5, which weakens collective bargaining for public employees, is a way for local governments and schools to better manage their costs and rebalance or correct the “unbalance between taxpayer and government worker,” she said. The intention of SB 5, which faces the challenge of a voter referendum in November, has been misunderstood by many Ohioans, she said.
“It’s not intended to be an attack,” Taylor said. “My desire would be that we all read Senate Bill 5 and have an honest discussion about what Senate Bill 5 is and what it does and stop with the scare tactics of what it doesn’t do.”
Taylor praised Farm Bureau’s work with the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, saying Ohio will have some of the strongest livestock standards in the nation.
Now that the state budget has passed, workers’ compensation reform is the next major issue that the Kasich administration plans to address, she said.
“We’ve been working on these issues for several years. This administration was very prepared to take office Jan. 10. We’ve been trying to move at the speed of business. Businesses make quick decisions, families make quick decisions, and I believe they expect government to do the same.”