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State of the State Address HA-8-2-05

 

Ohio Governor Bob Taft delivers the 7th State of the State Speech to the Ohio House and Senate.

 

Applause

 

I am honored to be here today with the new leaders of the Ohio General Assembly.  We have been meeting to build an agenda for Ohio’s future.  I am sure that together we can accomplish great things.  It is an honor to be here with our elected officials.  I am honored to stand with the members of my Cabinet who are the best people in the nation.  There is no way that I could do this work without first lady Hope Taft.  We have made progress but there is far more to be done.  Before I go on to our unfinished business let us look at our accomplishments.  Ohioans are hard working and productive.  Ohioans are innovative.  Ohioans are practical give them a problem we’ll give you a solution.  Ohioans are caring and compassionate there are now 50,000 Ohio leads tutors across the state.  Last September I visited Springdale elementary in Mansfield.  Our people are our greatest strength but they are not all.  We all know that Ohio’ central location is key and we have invested in roads and bridges.  There is no better place to raise a family.  Sports, world class museums, boating and fishing on Lake Erie and the Ohio River and parks.  I am blessed to have a job where I see different parts of the state every week.  The courage and patiotism of the airmen makes them the heroes of our time I look forward to them coming home.  As we think about Terry Eishcman and so many other Ohioans living in harms way what sort of prospects do their children have in the future?  There are many white spots in Ohio’s economy.  I have asked Congress to pass laws for better jobs.  Together we put together a law to put an end to junk lawsuits as a result Ohio is more competitive than it was a year today now.  Last year I called for tax reform it is my number one priority.  Let me be clear I promised to work with you day and night in a spirit of co-operation to create fair tax code.  More than 300,000 small businesses pay at income taxes and instead of rewarding them we punish them.  We also have an oppressive tax on investment.  When a company wants to invest in equipment we oppress.  This is not something that we should tax and is hurting our ability to compete with other states.  Ohio’s corporate tax is a nightmare and we’ve got to fix it.  Right now we have the worst of all worlds causing stiffer shocks for companies coming from abroad our collections are low.  Its time to reform our tax system to reflect our economy now.  We must move Ohio forward, right now.  Applause

 

We’ll all here a chorus of complaints of special interests and much prevail by remaining committed to the very end.  Reforms will bring Ohio in line with the rest of the nation and slash income taxes across the board.  Every single Ohio will benefit and if you make less than $10,000 a year you will pay no state income tax at all.  We’ll also phase out the tax on inventories while protecting corporations from losses.  Our goal is not just to create a modern tax system but to reduce the burden upon Ohio families and corporations.  It reduces some taxes and increases others saving $800 million.  Leaving $800 million in the pockets of our families.  We cannot continue to have a deficit and will continue to tighten our belts.  We have closed six state institutions.  Our new budget will be the tightest in four years.  Medicaid growth will be restrained without hurting the needy.  We must tame the Medicaid monster.  We must release the powerful energies of this great state.  There are two things that we must do promote emerging sectors in our economy and high school education.  We are helping Ohio companies thrive.  We need to help more companies to compete in the global market and create high paying jobs.  For Ohio to retain its competitive advantage Ohio schools are important and there are new funds for students trapped in persistently failing schools.  Our academic contents are recognized as some of the best in the nation.  Since I’ve been governor we have raised student funding guarantee by one third and we shall direct funding to programs that we know promote success. 

 

More than 10,000 high school students are earning college credit and are encouraging students to enroll in engineering programs in high school.  We must make sure that colleges are affordable.  We will work with you to make a continuous learning system that is more co-operative and more collaborative.  To that end our budget proposes and annual tuition increase to six percent for need based scholarships. 

 

Last year I pledge to create a non-profit corporation to ensure that all people in Ohio know our story.  When we accomplish what I set forth today we will have an even better story to tell.  A story how we are sustaining our investment in a knowledge economy that is helping every student to succeed and we won’t let the special interests stand in our way.  Ohio became great because we never became afraid of a challenge.  Like the people who made the underground railroad a reality.  Today think about all the parents who are imparting the values their children need.  Think about the challenges our children will face.  He knows we are lagging the majority of the country.  Lets keep Desmond and all our friends in mind as we go over our unfinished business.  Let us resolve to do our job and make this state a better place to live, work and raise a family.  May God Bless all of you and the State of Ohio.