Since taking office in January 2011, I have had the pleasure to work on a number of reforms and policy measures that are helping to bring Ohio back to a place of economic prosperity. Ohio's unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since October of 2008, having dropped to 7.5 percent. Additionally, Ohio has added 83,000 new jobs since the start of 2011, and hardworking residents of our state are now able to take advantage of new and exciting opportunities. However, there remain a number of communities across Ohio where extreme financial hardship and poverty persist for families and signs of recovery are few and far between. To solve this problem, it is imperative that we provide area businesses with the means to attract the necessary capital to create jobs and stimulate local economies. That is the driving force behind Senate Bill 327, which I have introduced alongside State Senator Charleta Tavares (D - Columbus). The legislation aims to improve upon an existing state tax credit that incentivizes small business investment in Ohio's low-income areas. Created in 2009, the New Markets Tax Credit program provides a 39-percent state tax credit over a seven-year spread on qualified investments in businesses located in low-income communities. So far, eight projects in various industries and sectors have been made possible through use of the credit, and I believe there is a way to build on this success. Administrative barriers and the program's limited scope have not allowed us to explore the full potential of new markets tax credits in Ohio. Senate Bill 327, will spur an additional $500 million of investment activity by increasing the annual credit cap from $10 million to $50 million. Moreover, instead of restricting the release of investment authority as Ohio currently does, our bill will allow the full amount of the program to be available immediately. Policymakers and community leaders have long struggled to find resolution to rising poverty rates and diminished hope in our state's urban centers and secluded rural areas. Though far from a silver bullet, incentivizing capital investment made by job creators in these areas will go a long way in forging a new level of growth and opportunity for Ohio residents. Now is the time to reinvigorate our struggling neighborhoods and communities by empowering the entrepreneurs and small business owners who wish to set up shop in Ohio. I am confident that by making these tax credits more available and exploring similar public-private partnerships, our great state can continue its pursuit of a more prosperous tomorrow. As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas concerning the matters we discuss at the Statehouse. You can reach my office by phone at (614) 466-6247, by e-mail at or by writing State Senator Bill Beagle, Ohio Statehouse, One Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215. I look forward to hearing from you.
Senator Bill Beagle serves the people of Ohio's 5th Senate District, which includes Miami County and portions of Montgomery and Darke Counties.
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