Having served three years as a legislator, I'm confident in saying that we have had more progress this year than in any other.
I am especially proud because, regardless of passing legislation in a variety of areas, the Ohio House has been dedicated to finding solutions that will aid our broken economy and bring jobs back to our state.
In fact, the House passed more than 80 bills in the first seven months of the year. This is quite an accomplishment considering that at this point in time during the previous General Assembly, the House had only passed 23 bills. The secret of success lies in having good leadership and putting in many long hours of work. We have had twice as many session days this year as the House had at this time two years ago. We have continued to make many of the decisions that had been put off before House Republicans took control. As a member of the leadership team, I can assure you that we are dedicated to doing all that we can to make Ohio a great place to live and work.
With a lot of hard work put into so much legislation, we have taken on the issues Ohioans find most important in a very thorough way. This includes legislation focused on job creation, business development, education and a host of other topics. I'm pleased that in addition to economic initiatives, we also have not ignored important issues, including the sanctity of life. As House members, we must continually work to represent the interests of all Ohioans.
One of the ways we can best do this is to ensure that some of the bills we pass also have the support of both political parties. Crafting good legislation requires involvement by many people, so I'm happy to report that that 14 of the bills passed by the House had a Democratic co-sponsor. At this point two years ago, not a single Republican bill had been passed. In order to put Ohioans first, we often must set aside our political differences and work with what we agree on.
Overall, our goal is to ensure that Ohioans can be better off in the future than they are now. The bills that we have passed certainly highlight this effort. A terrific example is the state operating budget that we passed near the end of June. We were able to balance the budget and fill a gap of $8 billion dollars without raising taxes on Ohioans who know best how their money should be spent. Aside from reconfiguring where our state spent funds, we were even able to eliminate the estate tax, which I had fought for earlier in the legislative session. Through these efforts, our state's small businesses and middle class will find an added sense of relief.
Additionally, this session has allowed for reforms in areas such as criminal sentencing, election protocol, collective bargaining and prescription drug abuse. We have also fought hard to get rid of the many inefficiencies and rules that are a result of a government that has too much bureaucracy. Our efforts are saving taxpayer dollars and will lead to a more effective and accountable state government.
As we move forward into the remainder of the year and into next year, I will continue to fight for common sense solutions that will benefit you and your family. Please remember to contact my office with any comments or questions you might have.
Cheryl Grossman is the 23rd District representative in the Ohio House of Representatives. She can be reached at (614) 466-9690 or District23@ohr.state.oh.us.