The Similar Policy Objectives Benefit Ohio’s Economy
On Friday, House Republicans rolled out a 39-page document intended to serve as their policy template for the next two years. Called The Buckeye Pathway, it is focused on “improving the economic environment of the state, enhancing opportunities for Ohioans, and strengthening families and communities so that all Ohioans can secure a better quality of life.”
While it is not uncommon for legislative caucuses to present a unified policy vision, a comprehensive document that includes not just boilerplate solutions is. The Buckeye Pathway contains a number of specific policy recommendations.
What’s especially encouraging is that several of the Ohio Chamber’s priorities are shared by House Republicans. For example:
- The Ohio Chamber’s agenda calls for preventing state agencies from improperly creating rules through policy. Similarly, The Buckeye Pathway suggests reforms to Ohio’s regulatory burden that would “require agency policies to be submitted to the Common Sense Initiative and processed as rules.”
- The Buckeye Pathway promises to “reduce unnecessary litigation that is burdening businesses, stifling innovation and costing customers.” Legislation already introduced (House Bill 2) that is a top Ohio Chamber priority would, among other things, “prevent employers from being forced to defend claims in the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) and in civil court simultaneously.” In other words, HB 2 would reduce unnecessary litigation that is burdening businesses!
- For the past four-plus years, the legislature has debated how best to addresses the cost to businesses of Ohio’s existing energy efficiency mandate. House Republicans intend to pursue meaningful reforms to this mandate by “allowing all Ohioans to opt out of the program.” Providing a streamlined path for mercantile customers to opt-out of the energy efficiency mandate is a long-standing Ohio Chamber objective.
- Not surprisingly, given the strong personal interest by Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger in addressing the long-term solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund during the last session of the General Assembly, this objective is carried over into The Buckeye Pathway – and it remains a major emphasis for the Ohio Chamber.
- The Buckeye Pathway’s contemplated review of “health insurance mandates to determine the effect that these costs and benefits have on healthcare consumers and businesses” is directly in line with the Ohio Chamber’s goal of making sure lawmakers understand the unintended consequences of government-imposed health care coverage mandates.
There are other areas of overlap, as well, but the above are some of the Ohio Chamber’s most pressing goals for 2017-2018. It appears employers have a willing partner in the House Republican caucus in achieving some of these important objectives.