Earlier this month, the state legislature kicked off the start of the 132nd General Assembly, and I was sworn into my third term as your state representative. I am confident that I have had much success at the Ohio Statehouse during the past four years, both in terms of getting important legislation passed and representing the people of Pickaway, Ross, and Fayette counties.
During this next two-year term, I have a number of priorities that I intend to focus on for the improvement of both southwestern Ohio and the rest of the state. First and foremost, I plan to be very involved in efforts regarding drug abuse and the addiction epidemic in our state. This scourge has certainly affected corners of my district, as well as the rest of Ohio. I want to be supportive of all professionals who deal with this issue on the front lines, especially regarding drug and substance abuse education in our schools.
Speaking of our schools, school funding is also a focal point of mine. As vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, I have a role in crafting the state biennial budget and making the calculations regarding school funding and what is best for our kids. It is important that our children have the best opportunities at the most effective cost so that they are prepared for post-secondary education and to enter the workforce. Workforce development and ensuring that those who are seeking careers are skilled for new jobs is a chief priority.
Finally, as we receive Governor Kasich’s budget proposal in the coming weeks, making adjustments to our tax structure will be of the utmost importance. I hope to take on the Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) and the negative impact it has had on businesses in Ohio. Although the CAT tax was necessary when it was created in 2005, it has contributed to an uneven playing field between businesses. I’m looking forward to working alongside of others to attempt to correct the tax issues that have developed.
Although I believe the state has come a long way since I was first introduced to the legislature in 2012, there is still much work to be done. My priorities have one goal in mind—to make Ohio more attractive for businesses and families. By encouraging smart economic policies and a competitive tax structure, Ohio is sure to have an improved economic environment for businesses. At the end of the day, it is all about fostering a more successful state, benefiting the lives of all Ohioans.
Gary Scherer is the State Representative for Ohio House District 92.