By DENISE GRANT
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor made an early campaign swing through Findlay on Monday in her bid for Ohio governor.
She said next year’s gubernatorial race is already garnering a lot of attention statewide.
Taylor was the guest speaker at the Hancock County Republican Party’s annual fall dinner held at the Sterling Center. She also made a brief stop Monday afternoon to speak with The Courier’s editorial board.
Also vying for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018 are Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth.
The primaries will be held in May.
Taylor served as state auditor from 2007 to 2011, and was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006. She began her career in politics in 2001 when she was elected to the Green City Council.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation, both from the University of Akron. She is a former accountant with Deloitte and Touche, and the Akron firm of Bober, Markey, Fedorovich & Co.
The lieutenant governor said Monday that unlike her competitors, her campaign is already making policy statements and is focused on issues most important to Ohio’s future. So far, Taylor’s campaign has announced policy positions on health care and taxes.
Describing herself as “Ohio’s chief opponent of Obamacare,” Taylor said if elected governor, she will work with President Donald Trump “to make it go away.”
She said the Affordable Care Act has been a “disaster for the people of Ohio and across the country.” She said it has increased the cost of health insurance, undermined the competitive insurance marketplace in Ohio, hurt job creation, reduced insurance options and created a dependency on unsustainable, government-run coverage.
As governor, Taylor said she would work to create laws that will allow small employers to contribute what they can, without triggering all the laws that come with providing a group insurance plan.
And unlike Gov. John Kasich, Taylor said she opposes the Medicaid expansion. She said Medicaid is meant to be a safety net for those who are unable to work due to age, disability or family responsibilities. She said the rolls have grown to include “able-bodied adults.”
She said the Medicaid expansion crowds other state priorities.
Taylor said a system of direct access for routine care and preventative services should be developed outside of the health insurance system, with insurance used only for emergency or high-cost care. She said the system would be more economical and patient-focused.
Taylor’s campaign has also announced a tax reform plan aimed at simplifying Ohio’s tax code.
Last year, Taylor said, Ohio’s individual tax return was 11 pages long with 60 pages of instructions.
She said simplifying the code will make compliance easier for Ohioans.
In 1972, Taylor said, the state’s individual tax return was the size of a postcard. She said returning to a simpler tax form will reduce both the cost of compliance for Ohio taxpayers and the state’s administration costs.
Taylor also said she will stop the state’s practice of over-withholding payroll taxes.
She said Ohio’s current withholding tables require employers to withhold about 20 percent more taxes from employee wages than are due.
“You are providing the State of Ohio with an interest-free loan and most people don’t even know it,” Taylor said. “That’s wrong and I will stop it.”