You see, if you have many different areas that you target, when one part of the economy goes down, it doesn't mean it sinks your state. And so JobsOhio has been able to work to diversify us, and it's clearly working. And now that we're funded, we think we're even going to get more out of Jobs Ohio than we've seen so far.
We also moved directly in the direction of common sense regulations. Mary Taylor — Mary, stand up — our lieutenant governor of the state of Ohio.
Mary's husband, Mary's husband is a small businessman. He knows about the regulations and how they can kill small businesses, particularly the smallest businesses that are really fragile. Mary runs the Common Sense Initiative.
And let's just talk about our philosophy in one area — oil and gas. We believe in having an environment where we can prosper the oil and gas industry, but we also believe that in the process of doing it, we cannot endanger people and we cannot endanger the environment. And if you use common sense, you, in fact, can protect the public safety. You, in fact, can protect the environment and you can create jobs, and we are doing it in Ohio. Thank you, Mary, for your efforts at bringing common sense.
For me, there was always something unique about Ohio, something special. I can't help but smile when I think about coming to Ohio as a kid, as a little boy, seeing Cleveland. Cleveland rocks. Literally.
Been to the Hall? Lake Erie. Every time I fly up there, I look at that lake and I say, boy, are we lucky to have that Lake Erie right here in Ohio. We've got to take better care of it and we have to tell people more about it.
You know, I loved Ohio then, but then my father took me to Columbus to visit Ohio State University. A lot of dads, a lot of moms took their kids to visit Ohio State. I fell in love. You know, I sensed Ohio's excitement then, I felt its opportunity. I knew Ohio was going to be my home, and nobody was going to drag me away from this place because it's just so, so awesome.
But, folks, we have all seen our state drift over time. We've seen it get old. We've seen it begin to misfire and fall behind. But like a great old home, I knew Ohio could be restored to its grandeur, to its greatness. You see, Ohio is a land of hope and opportunity — realize dreams for our families. We're safe, we're friendly, we're filled with the potential to pursue our passions. We take care of our neighbors. You know, Ohio is a place where we can work, contribute, build a better community. We can be a shining example of how when people get together, they can get it right. And not just for ourselves, but for our children, of course, most especially.
But, folks, the rebuilding has to continue. We can't rest on our gains. We haven't tapped all of our potential. There are too many challenges that haven't been met and we move forward with this vision in mind and therefore, we must continue to build our economy, continue to build the new and exciting 21st-century jobs, and we must rebuild our roads, and our highways, and our bridges. We must provide for our children the opportunities that we all had. We need to lift, we need to lift the poor, we need to lift the beleaguered, and we need to have America follow us because I think they're beginning to, and perhaps one day they may even join us here in the great state of Ohio.
This is our vision, and our budget is the next step in that vision, but I would ask all of you to keep your eyes focused on the mountaintop. Don't get distracted or discouraged by the twists or the turns or the detours along the road. I really believe our legacy depends on what we do.
You know, Ohio is getting it right and it's being noticed. As most of you know here and some that are watching may not know, I recently traveled to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. I really wasn't that excited about going until I got there because I had the chance to meet with scores of job creators, CEOs. You know, they all wanted to meet with me. And you know why? Because they couldn't figure out why we were figuring it out.
All over the world, things aren't working. There's so much dysfunction. There's so much falling apart, and they asked me one simple thing: How are you getting these jobs created? What are you folks doing in Ohio? And not only that, they're saying, "How can you go from 89 cents to a $2 billion surplus, from $8 billion in the hole to a surplus? How is it happening? Because this is something we have to pay attention to because we may want to come to Ohio."
It was so fantastic to be there and to be a person that could represent everyone here. I wish you were all there. Because we think some of them are going to come to Ohio. We think we do have them excited because of the work that all of us have done.
Well, what do we do now? Should we rest on our laurels? That's what most people think when you pull out of the depths of where we were — just, you know, kind of relax. Should we put the state on cruise control? Oh, I got another one for you — why don't we just spend the surplus? Things are good, just go ahead and, you know, take your foot off the gas. Well, we're going to keep our foot on the gas here in this administration, and we hope you will join us.
And when we look at the great companies around the world, companies that continue to innovate, continue to embrace change, companies that have leaders with vision — think about this, folks — the ones that are the most exciting in the world today: Apple, Cardinal Health, Amazon, Google, the Cleveland Clinic, IBM, and right here in Northwest Ohio, Marathon. These companies strive for change every day and the State of Ohio must do it as well.
We cannot rest on our laurels. These companies, the companies don't fear big ideas. We must not fear big ideas. We must embrace them. Oh, yeah, let's debate them. And that's the fun part of being in the government, debate them without the personal attack, debate them on the merits, but embrace them, because at the end of the day, big ideas, it will renew us, it will restore our youth, it will give us excitement.
We will have a spring in our step because big ideas renew people. The only thing that can stop us, ladies and gentlemen, is the fear of change, the fear of big ideas. Let's not go there. We're starting to hit on all cylinders.
Our program of innovation and common sense policies, we believe, does create success. Just like the first budget helped us to dig out of the hole and set the stage for growth, this allows us to shift into higher gear. Our budget is designed to come together and create jobs and let's not forget, to provide help for the most vulnerable.
First and foremost, Ohio's taxes are too high, and they are particularly punishing to our small businesses. We punish our small businesses with too high of taxes in our state.
Flat out, end of story. They are the engines of job creation in our state. And let me be clear, this is a comprehensive program to cut taxes by $1.4 billion, and I'll talk about a few of the specifics. We propose lowering the sales tax from 5 1/2 to 5 percent.
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