By Rep. Craig Riedel

Part 3 of 3

With 27 years of experience in business combined with what I have already learned in my time as your state representative, I know just how important it is to have strong employers and capable workers. Not only does the growth of our economy depend upon it, but so does the wellbeing of families across the state. In my previous column in this series, I discussed challenges that still obstruct the development of our workforce, especially in northwestern Ohio.

In my first 11 months as a state representative, I have been hard at work on legislation that would eliminate these obstacles and set Ohio up to have a better business sector that benefits communities and workers. The first step towards those goals is to reform Ohio's prevailing wage law, which is the required wage that must be paid to skilled trades employees working on public improvement construction projects. House Bill 163 would allow local government entities and state universities to opt out of the requirements under the prevailing wage law.

How exactly would this bill work? With this reform, decisions regarding wage on taxpayer funded projects are left to local governments, rather than mandated by the state. By making prevailing wage permissive, the bid process on projects would be more competitive, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars and allowing the free market to play out. Further, House Bill 163 will allow local government entities to more efficiently use limited taxpayer funds to pay for public improvement projects, getting more accomplished with the same amount of money.

I've also been working on a bill that encourages the growth of homebrewing, an industry that is booming in Ohio with the recent explosion of craft brewing. The legislation would allow a homebrewing organization to attend events without a permit, giving them the opportunity to showcase homemade beer, wine and cider without restrictions. With over 43,000 homebrewers across the country, this bill opens up this market in Ohio, making the state more attractive for this industry and ultimately supporting small businesses.

Both of these bills have a similar goal-make Ohio more business-friendly. With freer markets, less limitations, and local control, our businesses can develop and expand. Ohio can grow to have a diversified business culture, resulting in more jobs and more companies making the decision to invest in our state.