Monday, April 5, 2010

Discrimination in Ohio Against Rural and Suburban Areas Must End

Ohio Senator John Carey called it discrimination.  That's a strong term, but he used that word at an Ohio Economic Development Association panel recently to describe the growing "urban bias" among many state policy makers.

Under the themes "Restoring Prosperity" and SmartGrowth, a bias against suburban and rural areas that support growth is taking hold.  Underpinning those themes are Brookings Institution influences that frequently contain an urban bias.

Discrimination is defined by as: "treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit."

Senator Carey is right.  It is discrimination.

Recent policy reports favor removing the tools that help Ohio compete for internationally-competitive jobs.  Why should it matter as to what the density of the place is in Ohio where a new job-creating manufacturing project lands?  It shouldn't.

Recent policy reports would see Ohio invest next to nothing in growing its highway capacity.  How can a government that doesn't add infrastructure capacity and only funds re-building and re-doing ever grow their tax base without a bigger tax burden?  It can't.

Recent policy committees have only had token suburban and rural participation.  How can report after report on Ohio policy exclude balanced input from suburban and rural areas and yet claim to be inclusive and unbiased?  They can't.

It's time to end discrimination.  Ohio can restore its prosperity and grow to produce a greater Ohio only through removing an urban bias and working to grow all of Ohio.

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