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Friday, January 21st, 2011

Faber: Setting budget won't be pleasant

By William Kincaid
Establishing Ohio's budget is not going to be a pleasant process, especially for those who rely on state money, State Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, told the newspaper on Thursday.
"There's absolutely nothing that's off the table," Faber said during a phone interview about his thoughts for the new year in Ohio, one where Republicans control the House, Senate and governor's office.
Growing Ohio's economy is the most important thing legislators can do and that task can be done by, among other things, balancing the budget, Faber said.
Funding reductions likely will be faced by cities, counties, schools and other entities, he said.
Faber said he believes in giving municipalities flexibility in their operations, such as in their dealings with collective bargaining units.
Questions for municipalities will be the same as those of the state - evaluating priorities, Faber said.
Jobs, jobs and jobs will be the mantra of legislators, Faber said, adding that it may take several months before people see a difference.
Faber espouses regulatory reform for smaller businesses. The goal would be to streamline regulations and lower costs while maintaining compliance.
In addition to restructuring the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD), Gov. John Kasich is focused on job growth, Faber said. In his brief time in office, he has already spoken with CEOs thinking about moving out of state and those looking to move into the state, according to Faber.
Faber said he has always been concerned about the ODOD and their propensity to not get back with people and businesses.
He attributed the organization's delayed responses to its bureaucratic process, one in which he said there are no incentives to get the job done.
"What we're doing now isn't working," he said.
The difference between working with former Gov. Ted Strickland and Kasich is "night and day," Faber said.
Kasich is not preoccupied with friends and favoritism; he's about getting the job done, Faber said.
Faber said Kasich met with state Democrats and told them they will have a seat at the table as long as they're willing to work with Republicans. However, if their intention is to obstruct, their input will not be heeded.
"That's fair. Everybody should be at the table," Faber said.
Faber said he also would like to improve competition among businesses and is against prevailing wages.
"Whether we succeed on that (eliminating prevailing wage), I don't know," he said.
Faber said he also supports eliminating the estate tax, but added it likely would be phased out because many communities rely on it.
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