(Columbus) – Last month, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Steve Stivers joined other Ohio business leaders and released a 10-year “Blueprint for Ohio’s Economic Future.” The report and recommendations were prepared in collaboration by both the Ohio Chamber and the consulting firm, Accenture. These are policy recommendations for our state legislative leaders to consider as we move forward in today’s very competitive economic environment.
This report is meant to help pull out all the stops by helping to increase the workforce, recruit out-of-state workers to Ohio while also reskilling Ohio’s current workers, address state and local tax issues, and do more to help relieve the administrative burden of taxes, licenses, and fees on businesses. The report would also help the state return its labor force participation rate to pre-pandemic levels.
The report highlights six different key areas for recommendations, including education and workforce; sense of place; taxes and costs; business friendliness; innovation and collaboration; and infrastructure. The following Blueprint recommendations are as follows:
1. Education and Workforce
Reduce barriers to employment.
Expand education and job training.
Grow Ohio’s population and recruit out-of-state workers.
Modernize Ohio’s workforce for in-demand occupations now and in the future.
2. Sense of Place
Improve affordability that allows for generational wealth building.
Improve health outcomes and address drug crisis.
Further understand opportunities to take advantage of Ohio’s natural environment and amenities.
3. Taxes and Costs
Target comprehensive tax reform.
Improve on the complexity and burden of the current municipal tax system.
Conduct further analysis on the Ohio Business Gateway’s impact on businesses.
4. Innovation and Collaboration
Expand venture capital.
Increase small business support.
Help manufacturers to modernize their equipment to realize greater efficiencies and higher output.
Enact balanced and comprehensive data privacy legislation.
5. Business Friendliness
Expand cleanup of regulatory policies.
Create efficiency and transparency of license and permit applications.
Improve energy transmission and distribution systems.
Advocate for public transportation improvements.
Improve broadband access.
There are some changes in tax policy and how it would affect schools and municipal services, so the Blueprint is calling for a comprehensive study of the state and local tax burden. Changing the system of funding local governments is on the table as well, and there will be ample discussions with local governments to see if there might be a better solution. Also, the issue of local tax collection and working remotely during the pandemic has certainly created an opportunity and need for a much larger discussion on that issue. Those interested in the Blueprint’s tax policy recommendations can read Tom Zaino's recent Buzz article on the subject to learn more.
There will be several opportunities around the state to garner more dialogue regarding the Blueprint, and the goal is to generate several pieces of legislation to be proposed by our legislative leaders over multiple legislative sessions within the next 10 years.
Much of the preparation, planning and work on this Blueprint has been an ongoing project since well beyond the past year or two. Much of what is being done is in anticipation of Intel’s $20 billion investment in a factory complex near Columbus (Licking County), as well as the transformative impact it will have statewide, including the impact from Intel’s suppliers and all the infrastructure needs created by this development. The more recent announcement of Honda’s $3.5 billion battery plant in Fayette County adds still further to the state’s transformation. Both of those projects are a huge win for Ohio. The future is looking bright, and this Blueprint will get us moving even faster in the right direction and prepare us for an even better tomorrow.
Those interested in learning more about the Blueprint can read the full report at https://www.hannah.com/ShowDocument.aspx?ItemID=135964. An executive summary of the Blueprint is also available at https://www.hannah.com/ShowDocument.aspx?ItemID=135965.
I hope you find this Buzz informative. Please contact Rich Bitonte or any other ZHF Consulting Professional if you have questions, would like more details, or if we can be of any assistance now or in the future. Thank you.