As the governor recently signed the state budget we passed in the legislature, I was pleased to see recognition of the value of early childhood education. The General Assembly’s pledge of $30 million in this area represents a serious commitment to Ohio’s children and should strengthen the state economically in the years to come.

As a co-chair of the Ohio Children’s Caucus, I am a firm believer in opening doors to educational opportunities for all Ohioans. The best place to do this is when children are young. In Cincinnati, 86% of economically disadvantaged children who attended preschool were reading proficient in third grade. In Columbus, preschool attendees were more than twice as likely to enter kindergarten fully ready. These students contribute to a more knowledgeable population in Ohio and a more capable workforce.

Beyond early childhood education, eighty percent of Ohio’s students are enrolled in school districts that will receive increases in state funding. The other 20 percent will receive the same amount as they did last year. In all, no school district will receive less in state funding than it did a year ago.

Where I take great pride in these figures is that we were able to achieve them while offering a major income tax cut of $2.7 billion over the next three years. This cut will allow Ohio businesses to grow and employ more Ohio workers, all while letting hardworking Ohioans keep more of what they earn.

Ohio is able to take such promising steps because of the tough choices made in the last budget cycle. Faced with an $8 billion budget gap, lawmakers were able to achieve a balanced budget without raising taxes. The focus there was on getting Ohioans back to work, knowing that the benefits of increased employment would carry the state forward.

This approach has worked. Since January 2011, Ohioans have created more than 160,000 private sector jobs, the state’s unemployment rate has remained consistently lower than the national average, and wages are rising faster than most of the nation.

And as the business climate in Ohio continues to stay friendly, we expect the state to be able to do more while allowing Ohioans to keep a larger share of their income. A legislative tax reform committee will be traveling around the state in the next couple months to gather feedback and ideas about where our state can go from here to further improve our economic competitiveness, and I welcome your input as the legislative session moves forward.

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Rep. Mike Henne Announces Sales Tax Holiday For First Weekend Of August

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Rep. Henne Discusses Municipal Income Tax Uniformity


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