>Government Reform Sorely Needed During Economic Recession (State Rep. Dick Adams)

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Here in the Statehouse as well as on Capitol Hill, the government is intended to function “by the people, for the people.” However, instead of meeting your needs, Ohio’s state government has become bloated and sluggish which squanders your tax dollars. Because the state government has grown to be so large, Ohioans are among the highest taxed people in the nation and are being flooded with new taxes, fees, and penalties. This has impeded prospects for economic growth during the recession, and with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the past few years, we cannot afford to burden small businesses with reckless government spending that impedes the addition of more jobs.

Currently, Ohio faces unemployment rates of 10.7 percent—drastically higher than the national rate—because of small businesses and large companies closing their doors or relocating to states with better tax climates. To allow businesses to thrive and add jobs in our state, we must reform government spending to balance the next budget and reduce our tax rates. Additionally, our government needs to return to being a government that is transparent and responsive to the public. I have made government reform a major initiative in my work to improve Ohio’s economy.

In November 2009, ten legislative measures to get government spending under control and make government more transparent and accountable were introduced. Titled the “Future of Ohio” Government Reform package, these bills, when enacted, will take steps to decrease the tax burden on all Ohioans.

One measure that will make great strides in reducing government spending is House Bill 25. Aimed at reducing duplicate services, inefficiencies, and excess staff and spending, H.B. 25 consolidates the cabinet-level departments in the executive branch to 11 core missions from the current 24 cabinet level departments. When enacted, this legislation will make the executive branch operate more efficiently at a smaller cost to the public.

Another proposal included in the government reform package is H.B. 65, which works to reduce excessive spending by requiring performance audits of state agencies. The audits will not only cut waste, but also identify long-term solutions to systematic spending inefficiencies. Additionally, this measure will make government agencies more accountable and more mindful of how they are spending your tax dollars.

I cosponsored House Bills 25 and 65, in addition to other government reform legislation, because the legislature needs to make a significant transformation to the way Ohio does business. In an increasingly competitive national economy, no longer can we afford to maintain a high-tax, anti-business status quo. We are losing jobs, businesses, families and young people faster than we can think of incentives to retain them.

Unfortunately, our government reform bills have yet to even receive votes in committee or on the House floor. I will continue to urge the consideration of the “Future of Ohio” Government Reform legislation when the House reconvenes in the fall, so we can finally start creating jobs and making Ohio a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Rep. Adams may be reached by calling (614) 466-8114, by mail at Representative Richard N. Adams, 77 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, or by emailing District79@ohr.state.oh.us.

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