Throughout the many towns and villages of the 91st Ohio House District, I think we all see every day the importance of small businesses. Not only do they provide incomes for workers and services for customers, but they also become integral parts of the community and local culture. Since first being elected to the Ohio House, my goal has been to fight for policies that assist and preserve these kinds of places.

Last week, I had the honor of receiving the “Guardian of Small Business” Award from the Ohio chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The NFIB is a strong voice and advocate for small business owners throughout our state because it understands the importance that those small enterprises have on Ohio’s economy.

While I was sincerely grateful to receive the award, it would not have been possible without the years of hard work in the legislature and by creative entrepreneurs in all corners of our state. Together, we are taking great strides to improve economic conditions for every family. I believe that the best way of strengthening the quality of life for all people is by growing the economy and creating jobs.

I was proud of what we were able to accomplish in the latest state budget, such as cutting taxes by more than 6 percent across-the-board for every taxpayer and reducing the tax burden on small and medium-sized businesses. Tax rates are nothing more than numbers and decimals until you consider the real-world impact they have on the individuals that make our state work. By continuing to find ways to make government more efficient and responsible, I hope to give Ohioans further relief on their tax bill so they can save, invest and spend more of their own money the way they see fit.

A big part of that effort going forward will be done by the Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission, which was also part of the budget bill. That commission will be studying Ohio’s entire tax code and finding and recommending ways of simplifying it and making it work better for the 11.5 million people living in our state. Whereas the budget process takes place every two years, this commission’s work will be ongoing so that it will not be bound to that tight window of time.

Finally, the Ohio House placed a major emphasis on not only helping existing businesses, but also encouraging the creation of new businesses. House Bill 3 recently went into effect and is now state law. The bill lowers by 21 percent the fees associated with creating a new business. Over the last two years, Ohio has seen a record number of new business entities filed, and 2015 is looking strong as well. House Bill 3 is merely one of many steps that will be taken in this effort, but I believe anything we can do to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity within our borders, the better off Ohio will be in the years ahead.

The work goes on, but with nearly 350,000 jobs created since 2011 and an unemployment rate consistently lower than the national average, Ohio continues to be a place where families and businesses alike are looking to find opportunity.

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