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MINSTER — Ohio Lieutenant Gov. Mary Taylor visited Minster Tuesday night to tout her own CSI.
Taylor spoke at the Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce’s Businesses After Hours at The Bunker restaurant at Arrowhead Golf Club in a visit to promote her Common Sense Initiative (CSI).
“In Ohio, CSI is not a television show but it is real life investigations of regulations and rules that are killing jobs in Ohio,” Taylor said. “That really is, very simply put, what CSI is all about — eliminating the red tape and the bureaucracy that kills jobs and hurts Ohio’s entrepreneurs.”
As a part of CSI, Taylor has been traveling the state and meeting with business owners and community activities to get a first-hand look at changes that need to be made.
As an example of how CSI has positively affected jobs, Taylor told of how she was contacted by the mayor of Avon regarding a law that prevented food production facilities that used alcohol in their foods, such as Marcella sauce, to purchase the alcohol for retail prices and in retail quantities.
Taylor said that the particular facility she visited used 147,000 pounds of wine per year.
“What a competitive disadvantage to be in Ohio,” Taylor said. “We can’t afford to put our small business owners at that type of disadvantage when they’re competing with companies across the country and companies across the globe.”
After seeing this, Taylor said she quickly helped introduce a bill to the state Senate, which was then passed and signed into law.
“If you’re a food production facility in Ohio, you can (now) purchase beer and wine at wholesale prices and in wholesale containers just like any other production, manufacturing-type facility in our state,” Taylor said. “(It) seemed like a fair thing to do, so we got it done.”
Taylor said she helped spark another change after seeing that many Ohio natives left Ohio to earn their undergraduate degrees elsewhere, and often choosing to attend graduate school in another state, rather than pay out-of-state tuition to return to Ohio.
“We need to welcome our best and our brightest back to Ohio and say, ‘we want your brainpower here,’” Taylor said. “We want you working with and for us, not someplace else, helping somebody else be successful.”
Buckeyes Forever, which was penciled into the budget by the state legislature, now allows Ohio high school graduates to return to Ohio, at any point in their careers, and enroll in a master’s level program while paying in-state tuition.
Taylor said she also helped get rid of the “job-killing death tax in the budget,” noting that older entrepreneurs were leaving Ohio because it made more sense for them to do business in another state that didn’t have a death tax.
“Ohio is a great state,” Taylor said. “We are a state that was founded on innovation. We are a state that was founded on working hard to achieve whatever it is that you wanted to achieve in your lifetime. I think Ohio, for a change, can lead the economic recovery. I am hopeful about our future. … I think if we work together and we focus on what you do well here and your strengths and your assets, I believe that we will see that economic recovery.”
She also fielded questions about legislative boundaries and CSI, as well as a question about local income taxes potentially being centralized in the state.
She said that the creation of jobs will help bring growth and prosperity back to Ohio, which will in turn help the state regain some of its lost Congressional representatives.
“Everything that we’re doing is about creating job opportunities in Ohio,” Taylor said.
In addition to helping the state’s jobs, Taylor hopes to help revive Grand Lake St. Marys.
“I love Grand Lake St. Marys and I certainly appreciate the opportunity where we can help work through the issues that dramatically impacted the tourist season in this region, in this area,” she said. “So we are really happy to be involved with that. It just sounds like things are moving or making progress in the positive direction. We want to make sure that we do what we can in every region or community across the state to take advantage of the local assets.”
Taylor also addressed Senate Bill 5 and how it will affect jobs.
“The budget was reform in nature,” she said. “Senate Bill 5 is very consistent with that theme. What it really does is it says, ‘we want to give more tools to our local governments, to our school districts, to help them better manage their cost.”
Taylor said cutting public workers in order to help trim the budget is bad for local communities.
“Laying off police and fire, understandably, is a concern and you want to avoid those situations because we understand and we appreciate how important it is to have those safety forces ready to go when there is an emergency or crisis in your local community,” she said.
Instead of being forced to lay off public workers, Taylor said she would like to “rebalance the scale,” where public workers would pay at least 15 percent of their health care, noting that the average in the private sector is around 25-30 percent.
“We’re also saying that every government worker should be responsible for paying their 10 percent share into their pension,” she said. “We have moved beyond the days where we can afford to continue to fund 100 percent of very lucrative pension benefits going forward.”