The national economy and what it takes to create real economic growth were major topics of conversation for political candidates last year. That’s come as no surprise to me, having traveled across the country during my presidential campaign, when I heard from Americans everywhere that they’re eager for better job opportunities.
As we look ahead to changes in our national leadership and the best economic policies to strengthen our economy, the formula that Ohio has successfully applied—tax cuts, conservative budgeting, spending restraint and common-sense regulations—is a model that would serve our nation well.
It’s certainly worked well for us. After a period of decline, Ohio and our local communities are once again moving forward, thanks to our steadily improved-business climate. Now, with a strong, balanced budget, $5 billion in tax relief for families and businesses, and more than $2 billion in budget reserves, we’re attracting job creators who want to do business in a state that’s on a solid financial footing. And, thanks to our workforce development system that is driven by the needs of business, we’re offering them access to the skilled workers they’ll need as they grow and expand. As a result, job creators have generated nearly 435,000 new private-sector jobs in our state since 2011, with Ohioans’ wages growing faster than the national average.
Five years ago, we created JobsOhio, a fast-moving, privatized economic development corporation with one essential goal: create more jobs and diversify our economy by building the best job creation engine of any state in the nation and turbocharging that engine by taking job creation out of the state bureaucracy. JobsOhio has been integral to Ohio’s success—an agile, innovative complement to our improved business climate and growing stature as a business-friendly state
These efforts have helped us attract new businesses, grow existing ones and diversify our economy. Longstanding Ohio businesses like General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Honda, IBM and Abbott Laboratories have expanded their presence here, while we’ve welcomed new jobs and investment from innovators like Amazon, Fuyao Automotive Glass and Aprecia Pharmaceuticals.
While we know that tax cuts, workforce development and common sense regulations are essential to job creation, we can’t overlook the role that our K-12 education system plays in our ability to achieve long-lasting job growth. Knowing that too many schools across our nation are failing to keep up with today’s ever-changing workplace, we are determined to see that Ohio schools find new solutions to help their students succeed.
We have much to celebrate in Ohio with our recent economic successes and renewed fiscal well-being. But we know this is no time to relax our guard against the inevitable next economic downturn. That’s why we work to continually plan ahead and to look every day for new and innovative ways to strengthen our economy.
A model for the nation
I point to the Ohio story because the job-creation tools we have developed here can be put to use by states and cities across America. If we prioritize job creation with the same intensity with which leaders of both political parties have focused on wedge issues and divisive politics, America can rise from the economic doldrums that have held us back for almost a decade.
The renewed hope and prosperity we are seeing in Ohio today are allowing us to lift those who live in the shadows and create real opportunities for success—so everyone can realize the American dream. That formula has worked well for Ohio, and it is a model we can take to the nation.
Mr. Kasich is Republican Governor of Ohio. This op-ed originally appeared on Forbes.com