Local and federal leaders provided an outlook on the nation's and Ohio's business environment at Heidelberg University Monday.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, focused on areas that would promote business growth locally and around the country. As it is an election year, Jordan said looking ahead was important for Republicans not to fight against the Obama administration, but instead outline what the Republican Party would like to do to improve the quality of living in the country.
"First, (we must) show our alternative to Obamacare (and) not just be against it, but show what we would do to fix it," he said.
He said looking into changes in the tax code also would help improve the nation's economy, since half the population does not pay income tax and the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world.
Jordan said he was in favor of making the system less complex.
"If it's broken and stupid, you might want a change," he said. "We certainly need to do that and reform our vision. "
He said a "disincentive to work" was built into the Obamacare law.
He said another issue that needed discussion was welfare reform legislation.
"Our welfare reform issue is one where we encourage work, we incentivize work and try to get people those basic skills and mindsets that we all got in our first job," he said.
Other areas that Jordan said needed change were the country's energy policies, residents' privacy across the country and the National Security Agency's collection of phone data.
Jordan also said getting Republicans into the federal government would help push forward discussion of those topics.
"I'm trying to get our party to talk about and put forward, in the context of this election year, what we would do different. It's easy to criticize the folks in office now," he said. "I think it's important to lay out a vision."
Mayor Aaron Montz provided an outlook of Tiffin and said the future was bright.
"We're in a wonderful place in Tiffin," he said. "A lot further than where we were just two years ago when I took office."
He said when he took office, $163,000 was in the city's checking account.
"The city was essentially broke," he said. "It was shocking and very disheartening. I had no idea I was coming into something quite that rough."
After two years, Montz said the city ended 2013 with a carryover of $2.4 million due to job creation, business growth and "smart fiscal management."
He also said the city has had a 60 percent decrease in crime over the last year.
"Not only are we increasing the city's financial standing, we're cutting down on crime," he said.
In the future, Montz said he would like to increase staffing for the police and fire departments, along with promoting more economic growth.
"Everywhere you look, jobs are being created in this community," he said.
Ohio Senate President Keith Faber also provided information to students that he shared at the Lincoln Day Dinner.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French outlined the process of the Ohio Supreme Court for local students.
French was appointed in 2012 and has been visiting each county in Ohio and speaking with students concerning educational opportunities in relation to the court.
She said out of the 1.5 million lawsuits that are filed in Ohio a year, only about 1,600 make it to the Supreme Court. From there, the panel of judges decides which cases to consider.
The court only discusses about 100 cases a year and focuses on cases that have the most impact on the state.