As 2017 winds down, I find that the end of the year marks a good opportunity for us all to reflect upon the past 365 days and the changes we’ve experienced. Some people changed jobs, added members to their family, or got married.
So much can happen in a year, and that holds true for the work my fellow members and I do at the Statehouse. In January, we were diving head first into the state budget process, and now we’re considering funding for certain capital improvements across Ohio.
The biennial budget took up much of our focus during the first half of the year. Our funding plan for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the budget was a top priority that set spending and operations for the entire state.
In spite of a tight cycle with lower-than-expected tax revenues, we passed a fiscally responsible budget that gives precedence to Ohio’s greatest needs.
Among hundreds of provisions, we worked to combat the opioid epidemic, provided valuable resources for schools, and promoted a competitive and predictable tax structure by not raising taxes and also reducing the number of tax brackets.
At the beginning of the 132nd General Assembly, our caucus established the Buckeye Pathway, the guiding policy document that keeps us on a path towards specific goals as we considered and passed legislation.
Thus far, we’ve approved more than 30 bills that align with the three main objectives that make up the Buckeye Pathway: improving the economic environment, enhancing opportunities for Ohioans, and strengthening families and communities.
From encouraging computer science courses in high school to improving communication between law enforcement and those with communications disabilities, these Buckeye Pathway initiatives do more for you and your family.
Additionally, during the second half of this year, many of our members have been traveling the state as a part of five special, bipartisan task forces. These task forces have been addressing Ohio’s most pressing issues, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, education and poverty, military affairs, energy, and the opioid epidemic.
Coming in 2018, the task forces will discuss possible legislative recommendations based on their findings from meeting with local officials, policy experts, and citizens.
I can confidently say that 2017 was a successful year in the Ohio House and across communities in the state. We met many of our goals and continue on a road toward a stronger Ohio, making it a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
As always, there is still more work to be done, and the House aims to address a variety of issues, including congressional redistricting reform and unemployment compensation in 2018.
As we look forward to 2018, and I begin this last year as your state representative, I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy New Year!
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.