Economy Continues to Struggle One Year After Biennial Budget

By Jarrod Martin, State Representative

As we are all well aware, Ohio’s economy has continued to struggle while other states have seen a slight economic rebound. Unlike many of our neighbors, our economy cannot grow because our tax rate is so high. If we were able to lower taxes, small businesses would have more income to hire new employees and businesses across the state would expand because Ohioans would be spending more. However, House Democrats raised taxes in 2009 and passed a budget last July that will cost the taxpayers for years to come.

The biennial budget, which passed in 2009, increased spending by $1 billion in 2010 and $950 million more in 2011. Tax revenue alone cannot fund this budget nor repair the state’s deficit. The Office of Budget and Management projected that the state’s tax revenue will grow by $974 million in the next two years, but will not reach the $5 billion necessary to replace the losses from this budget’s out of control spending.

To otherwise fund this spending, the governor proposed 150 new fees that will take nearly $1 billion from the wallets of the taxpayers. Additionally, the budget usurps $8.5 billion from one-time sources that could have been more wisely spent. On top of these sources, the state received $900 million more from the taxpayers after Ohio’s Democrats passed House Bill 318, which repealed the final installment of the income tax reductions and raised your 2009 income tax rate by 4.2 percent.

With the government reform initiatives my Republican colleagues and I proposed, the state would have saved more than $1 billion annually. Our proposals include legislation to streamline the bloated executive branch and to weed out wasteful Medicaid spending. We found areas where we can painlessly eliminate excess spending; however, the House Democrats decided to cut spending from the areas that need funding the most, including education and elderly health care programs. Their shortsighted moves will jeopardize important programs and will not pay off in the long run.

Raising my three children in Beavercreek, I frequently think about their future here in Ohio and whether there will be enough incentives for them to stay when they are considering colleges and careers. I fear that our state will not grow jobs and hold as many economic opportunities for them if we continue to overspend and burden our taxpayers. All parents hope that their children will have as many opportunities-if not more-than they had, and I would like to do my part to make this a reality for all of our children in the Buckeye State.

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