Senator Oelslager: Keeping Ohio's Business Climate Competitive
Guest column by State Senator Scott Oelslager
January 28, 2013
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Ohio’s unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in more than four years, and we have added more than 120,000 new jobs since January 2011 – making us the number one job creator in the Midwest. While these figures are certainly good news, we still have a long way to go in getting our economy back on track and finding job opportunities for all Ohioans.

A healthy business climate will help us attract and retain companies – and jobs - right here in Ohio. In the past two years we’ve had success in streamlining business rules and regulations and overhauling the way we approach economic development in Ohio. However, we have also taken action to help those companies who are expanding their workforce. 

Last spring, we approved House Bill 327, which created a new incentive for employers that utilize home-based workers. The number of people working from home has risen rapidly in recent years, as it provides more flexibility for both employers and employees. Under the new program, a six-year trial period is established in which companies whose employees work primarily from home would be eligible to receive an Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit if they meet certain requirements.  

Companies must create a minimum of 200 jobs in order to take advantage of the credit, and must also provide certain benefits to their employees.  At the end of the trial period, a report will be released detailing the effects of this incentive on hiring trends in Ohio.

More recently, we approved House Bill 365, which gives business owners who increase their employee payroll the ability to more quickly claim enhanced depreciation deductions. Many companies who claim these deductions often turn around and reinvest the funds in their operations – such as buying new equipment or hiring additional workers. In addition, the change will align Ohio law with federal law.

Making our state an attractive place for companies to locate and expand is essential if we are to help Ohioans get working again. While we are headed in the right direction, we must also take steps to better match the needs of employers with our workforce and encourage students to pursue fields of study that are in demand. This will be a top priority for my colleagues and I during this General Assembly, and I am hopeful that we will begin discussing ideas on these issues in the weeks ahead.

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