Over the past few months, Ohio jobs number data has shown signs of a positive economic turn-around. Hopefully, Northwest Ohioans are beginning to experience this slow but steady upturn. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that Ohio led the nation for job growth in February by creating 28,300 new jobs. In all, the state has experienced a net gain of 83,000 new jobs since the start of last year. This solidifies Ohio as the top job creator in the Midwest and the fourth-best in the nation. Clearly, this is something we should all be pleased with. But we must keep the momentum going.

My colleagues and I in the Ohio Senate, continue to work every day to ensure that the worst days of the recession are behind us. We are mindful of the responsibility we have to provide adequate funds to keep state facilities in their best condition in order to remain competitive and attractive to companies looking to expand or relocate to Ohio. In March, the legislature unanimously approved the first capital bill in four years. In doing so, we provide much needed funding for repairs and renovations to facilities and systems serving the state and local governments.

The $1.7 billion bill is modest when compared to capital plans of the past, which allocated up to $3.5 billion to a litany of projects. The break down of funding in this legislation includes $400 million in aid to Ohio's university system, $675 million toward supporting public school projects and funding to support local community improvements on roads, bridges, waterlines, and sewers.

Over the past 15 months our focus at the Statehouse has been to make government and related services more efficient and responsible. So many of us have been forced to make many sacrifices over the past several years and government should do the same. But just as our homes and cars need modest repairs over the years to maximize their efficiency and maintain their condition, so do the state's fundamental facilities to secure vitally and growth. With just over eight months remaining in the 129th General Assembly, I am confident that we will continue to build on the foundation that has been set and that future economic victories lay ahead.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or concerns about any of the matters we are considering at the Statehouse. I can be reached by phone at (614) 466-8150, by email at Hite@Ohiosenate.gov or by writing to me at State Senator Cliff Hite, Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215. I look forward to hearing from you.