During my time as your state representative, I have kept my finger on the pulse of Ohio's most pressing needs.

During my time as your state representative, I have kept my finger on the pulse of Ohio's most pressing needs.

At any given moment, many different important issues demand the Ohio Legislature's attention. We must constantly prioritize and concentrate our efforts on those problems that directly affect both Ohio's progress and our citizens' prosperity.

This centralized focus is especially important when it comes to drafting the state budget. Ohio has many promising and significant programs and agencies that require funding, but with every decision we make, it is vital that we consider what will best promote our job market. The success of this sector is an indicator of economic growth and sustainability, and we cannot afford to neglect it as we formulate our state budget.

In order to cater to job creation and economic advancement, my colleagues and I have included several measures that address these concerns. Earlier this legislative session, Rep. Jay Hottinger and I introduced a bill to repeal Ohio's estate tax, which we later opted to include as a provision in the state budget. This "death" tax is both unnecessary and unethical, as it levies a double-tax on the assets of certain deceased individuals.

Far from only affecting the top echelon of earners, this tax is detrimental to the middle class, hurting small business owners along with homeowners and farmers. Furthermore, the estate tax deters people and companies from settling in Ohio and pushes many Ohioans to take their assets and relocate elsewhere. Eliminating this tax will incentivize businesses and business owners to bring jobs within our borders and guard against future population loss.

Aside from changing tax laws, the proposed state budget also will strengthen JobsOhio, the new nonprofit economic development entity created at the beginning of this General Assembly. By clarifying the language that governs JobsOhio and providing it with an investment revenue stream, the budget will contribute to its aims of job growth and economic revival.

To boost our state's educated work force, the House has added a budget provision that will encourage high school graduates to obtain higher education in-state. It will give Ohio's students in-state tuition rates to Ohio colleges and universities for a set time frame after graduating from high school. This will not only give students the chance to achieve a degree that they otherwise might be unable to afford, it also will attract businesses eager to capitalize on our bright, capable work force.

Taken together, these initiatives have the potential to lift our job market to new heights. In the past, Ohio's government has struggled to induce job creation, opting to rely on quick fixes and short-term solutions. This has left us with an economic malaise and a significant unemployment problem. I believe that by including job-boosting measures such as the elimination of the death tax and better educating our citizens in the state budget, Ohio can rebound from this slump and give our citizens more employment opportunities.

Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) can be reached at (614) 466-9690 or at District23@ ohr.state.oh.us.