Mayer: Need to change focus of power

The former president of the Buckeye Institute addressed members of the Auglaize County Patriots Thursday at RJ’s Coffey Cup concerning Ohio’s sliding status economically.

Matt Mayer focused his discussion on the tenets of his new book, “Taxpayers Don’t Stand a Chance,” where he described the various factors contributing to Ohio’s economic woes and what can possibly be done to correct them. His book provides an in-depth case study in which Mayer points out the reasons he feels Ohio has fallen from an economic and political leader to a laggard in the overall political landscape.

“Ohio used to be the land of presidents,” Mayer said. “Warren Harding was the last one. Now, seven of the last nine have come from the south and the west. Ohio is no longer driving entreneurship.”

In a 100-year period, Ohio went from having an average per capita income of 9.4 percent above the national average to the current number of 9.7 percent below the national average, Mayer said. Ohio has went from one of the lowest tax states to one of the highest in only three decades.

He said spending at the state level is out of control, going up 180 percent in the last 24 years, and higher taxes have led to the exodus of 600,000 jobs between 2000 and 2010.

Mayer pointed to three primary areas that Ohioans need to concentrate on to improve their status on the economic and political landscape.

“We need to to change the political system,” Mayer said. “We need to focus the power on Columbus, not Washington, D.C.

“Second, we need to make Ohio a workplace freedom state,” he said. “We just lost 40 jobs to Indiana, which is now a workplace freedom state, and now we have Michigan to compete with. Third, we need Ohio governors that operate without putting their hands out. Compassion isn’t putting a person into a system that doesn’t work, like Medicaid. We don’t need Washington telling us how to take care of our sick or how to educate our children.”

Mayer scratched the surface of many other topics, including Ohio’s high local taxes, the missed opportunity in a recent election to reform collective bargaining, and Ohio’s tendencies to focus on the wrong problems.

Mayer said Ohioans have the ability to take back the state.

“We must fix the problems that place Ohio taxpayers at such a disadvantage,” Mayer said. “Taxpayers can win the critical battle over the future of our state.”

He provided copies of his book free to everyone in attendance and asked that anyone pay it forward by ordering others and giving it to friends after they had finished reading the book.

Proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library and think tanks in the State Policy Network.

Mayer formerly worked with President George W. Bush in the Department of Homeland Security. He currently is the president of Provisum Strategies, which provides strategic and tactical political and policy advice to public and private-sector clients.