ECONOMIC TRIP Taft woos Canadian firms

A Youngstown company was among those to get attention.
COLUMBUS -- Gov. Bob Taft met this week with Canadian companies with Ohio business interests, trying to sell them on increasing their stake in the state.
In a phone interview this week from Toronto, Taft said he's pitching the message "that Ohio is a great state to invest in."
Taft's two-day, state-sponsored Canadian visit ended Wednesday.
Among the companies that Taft met with Tuesday and Wednesday were Polyair Inter Pack Inc., which has Cantar/Polyair operations in Youngstown and Northwood, and Magna International, Inc., which operates Intier Automotive with facilities in Lordstown and Strongsville. Cantar operates a swimming pool- related business and packaging business, the governor's office said, while Intier is an automotive industry supplier.
Reform legislation
"We're touting our lawsuit reform and workers compensation reform and our tax reform plan," said Taft.
Earlier this year, Taft signed legislation capping small-business liabilities for noneconomic damages at $350,000 per person in jury awards for noncatastrophic damages. The measure, which cleared the GOP-led Legislature, does not limit recovery of economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills.
Majority Republicans in the Legislature have also made bills to reform the workers compensation system among their top priorities.
Also, in his two-year, $51 billion state budget proposal pending before lawmakers, Taft has proposed reforming the state's tax laws, including phasing out the corporate-franchise tax and replacing it with a so-called "commercial-activity tax" on business receipts.
Taft has also proposed cutting state personal income tax rates by 21 percent and raising the kilowatt per hour tax in his tax plan.
The two-year, $48 billion state spending plan runs through June 30 and lawmakers must enact the next two-year budget by July 1.
Proximity to Canada
Also, the governor said he's pitching the fact that Ohio is close to Ontario and that the Canadian dollar is improving against the U.S. dollar, which could make Canadian investments in the U.S. more attractive.
"I think we'll see some good investments," Taft said.
On Tuesday, Taft also met representatives of the Canadian travel industry to promote Ohio. On Wednesday, Taft was scheduled to meet with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to discuss various issues.