Editorial: Lawmakers in Ohio must move forward

A recent editorial by the Youngstown Vindicator:

Each year, CNBC ranks the top states in which to do business, based on a variety of factors. Last year, the Buckeye State did well, ranking 10th on the list. This year, that success has slipped a bit. On the 2022 version of the list, Ohio is 15th.

As Axios reporting pointed out, it is still a point of pride to be ranked so highly (above Michigan at that), but there is a lot of room for improvement if the state is to remain competitive.

Among the positives for Ohio are infrastructure and ease of shipping goods by air, road, waterway and rail. The report’s authors gave weight to our prioritization of tech innovation, relatively low cost of living and plenty of tax incentives for businesses — though that may not be playing out as officials had planned with companies such as Intel.

On the other hand, there are an increasing number of factors causing us to falter in attracting and retaining employers. What Axios termed “burdensome” business regulations are a problem (in that category, CNBC ranked Ohio a dismal 43rd), as is the lack of potential employees who have Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics backgrounds.

CNBC also took a look at “life, health and inclusion,” which examined discrimination protections, voting rights laws, health care quality and crime rates. On that front, we ranked 29th.

For comparison’s sake, CNBC’s top state for business in 2022 was North Carolina. The worst was our old friend Mississippi.

Ohio lawmakers, economic development and education officials have some work to do (for us, not themselves) if taxpayers are to believe they take seriously their responsibility to keep moving the state forward; and to do better for ALL Buckeye State residents. It appears we’ve been moving backward lately — and that those elected officials who are intentionally pushing us in that direction are getting what they sought.

Employers are demonstrating they won’t tolerate it; and neither will voters.

— Youngstown Vindicator, July 29, 2022