Supporting Ohio’s small businesses
Take a walk down any commercial street throughout Ohio, and you will find its storefronts occupied by small businesses and local companies. Nearly half of all Ohioans work for small businesses, and they create over 70 percent of jobs in the state. The fate of Ohio’s economy rests on the sustainability of these homegrown enterprises, and it is paramount that our state government encourage their growth in any way possible.
Through my experience as a small business owner for more than 30 years, I understand how profound an impact that state law can have on entrepreneurial success. I have taken this knowledge and applied it to my work as chairwoman of the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee, ensuring that we pass legislation that will help, and not hurt, our friends in the private sector.
Since the beginning of this new General Assembly in January, the Ohio House has been working diligently to craft an economic atmosphere conducive to small business expansion. As a result of these efforts, we have passed a number of bills with this objective in mind. My colleagues and I have taken a multi-level approach to the undertaking, and I am proud of the progress we have made in the past six months.
These pro-business bills have enhanced our local companies with a greater capacity for prosperity. Starting in January, the House passed House Bill 1, legislation establishing JobsOhio, a lean non-profit entity tasked with fostering business development in our state. Based in the private sector, the entity is more attune to the needs and challenges faced by Ohio’s small businesses. JobsOhio will enhance economic growth and boost job creation, making our local industry more competitive in today’s fast-paced world.
In March, the House passed Senate Bill 2, companion legislation to House Bill 94 that creates the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) Office. Small business owners are often overwhelmed by complicated rules issued by state agencies. Remaining in compliance with these regulations can be costly and time consuming, hindering business growth and sustainability. The CSI Office will evaluate agency rules to determine if they are detrimental to small businesses and develop a regulatory reform process that will be beneficial to these businesses.
At the end of June, Governor Kasich signed into law the state operating budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. The budget includes several measures that benefit small businesses in Ohio. For instance, it forms InvestOhio, a tax credit program to alleviate the tax burden on Ohioans who invest in our small businesses. Individuals who invest in these local companies will receive a 10 percent tax credit if they maintain the investment for at least two years. This initiative will infuse capital into Ohio’s small businesses by offering attractive incentives for Ohioans to invest locally.
With all of the pro-business legislation passed by the House this General Assembly, local entrepreneurs are in a much better position going into the coming years. Ohio even jumped 11 spots, the most of any state, in CNBC rankings of “America’s Top State for Business” recently. My colleagues and I on the Economic and Small Business Development Committee are continuing to visit small businesses in communities across Ohio, getting input from those who best know the challenges in the field.
We cannot craft useful legislation without the help of our constituents, so if you have any suggestions at all, I welcome you to contact my office. When session resumes after the summer months, I am confident that we will pass more pro-business legislation and pave the way for even greater success in the future.
Rep. Baker may be reached by calling 614-466-0961, emailing District16@ohr.state.oh.us, or writing to State Rep. Nan Baker, 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.
State Representative 16th Ohio House District