Last week, Secretary of State Jon Husted released positive news for Ohio businesses—2014 was a record year for new business filings in Ohio. Since 2009, these filings have increased by 24%. The Office of the Secretary of State primarily attributes this to the expansion of online services, such as providing forms online, reducing administrative costs and time. Undoubtedly, increasing access to the administrative processes of opening a business has helped Ohio attract entrepreneurs in-state and out.
However, with the most recent General Assembly, there have been significant pro-business changes that also have or will positively impact Ohio’s ability to attract businesses, encourage economic growth, and create jobs. For one, municipal tax reform (House Bill 5) will alleviate administrative costs and time for businesses and employees attempting to comply with 600 different municipalities in the state of Ohio. Because Ohio is one of few states in the county that allows municipalities to levy their own income taxes, we were already at a competitive disadvantage with the majority of states that do not permit municipal income taxes; House Bill 5 helped remedy this big issue. Senate Bill 310 will also aid businesses by pushing the pause button on costly energy efficiency mandates while a study committee determines the impact of these mandates on our economy. And in an act that reflects common sense and fairness, the state must now return tax overpayments to businesses automatically (Senate Bill 263/House Bill 402).
Outside of the legislature, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor has successfully led the Common Sense Initiative to ensure that Ohio’s rules and regulations undergo a “business impact analysis,” when initiated and reviewed, to ensure Ohio’s regulatory system does not create unnecessary red tape and burdens for Ohio businesses. According to the Lt. Gov.’s office, business rule filings by state agencies have decreased by 25% as a result. CSI has reviewed more than 1,500 proposed rules and continues to serve as a business to agency liaison to help resolve issues for businesses.
As Ohio continues to move in the right direction with better, pro-business legislation and executive policies, 2015 should be another record-breaking year for new business filings.