As a non-partisan professional association, OEDA advocates on behalf of economic development practitioners and issues important to growing the Ohio economy.
Development and Commercial Revitalization
Infrastructure & Business Finance
Attraction, Expansion, and Retention
Industrial Rehabilitation & Location
OEDA prides itself on being a preferred source of state economic development information for our members as well as legislators and policy makers. OEDA members receive a monthly legislative update on legislation being monitored by the advocacy team as well as timely breaking news on key bills. With members representing every county in Ohio, OEDA is a unique position to connect legislators with economic development professionals from their districts.
Agenda for Ohio
POLICY PRIORITIES TO ADVANCE THE STATE AND LOCAL ECONOMIES
The Ohio Economic Development Association’s policy efforts focus on educating legislators about the profession, economic development programs, and critical issues that should be considered when formulating public policy. OEDA believes the top economic development priorities facing our state are as follows:
Simple and Equitable Tax Structure
Affordable and Reliable Energy
Support for Existing Businesses
Transportation: CNBC reported in April 2016 that Ohio is becoming the nation’s e-commerce capital due to location and its robust transportation network. Ohio is home to 6,735 total interstate lane miles. While trucks are a key vehicle for transporting goods, Ohio also has 13 intermodal railroad terminals and 5,200 miles of rail lines. OEDA encourages the Ohio General Assembly to support robust investment in our highways, rail and other means of transportation.
Buildings: Area Development, the leading magazine covering business site selection and relocation, reports that in 2016, the fifth most important factor influencing where businesses locate was whether a building was immediately accessible. In this world of “just in time delivery,” “speculative,” or readily accessible buildings can make the difference where businesses locate. OEDA encourages economic development programs that assist communities and developers in preparing buildings to be ready for commerce.
The availability of skilled labor was ranked as the top factor influencing where businesses locate by Area Development in 2016. Building and maintaining a qualified workforce will continue to be a factor in expanding existing businesses and attracting new ones as we move into 2017 and beyond. OEDA continues to support the work underway to unite and align Ohio’s various workforce programs and we look forward to finalizing this streamlined approach in Ohio’s workforce development system. OEDA appreciates the legislature’s support of various jobs training programs that encourage employers to invest in the skills of their workforce, such as the Ohio Developments Services Agency’s Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program and JobsOhio’s Workforce Training Programs. Additionally, OEDA appreciates and supports efforts made to educate students for career pathways at a younger age and to incentivize employers and industry sectors to be engaged in career development programs. OEDA believes that a comprehensive and adequately funded workforce development program, which includes programs for youth and adults and is job specific, is foundational need for economic growth. We believe this funding is critical to the competitive nature of Ohio as a premier place to do business, and it is critical that workforce development programs continue to be funded at the levels necessary to train and educate our workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow,
SIMPLE & EQUITABLE TAX STRUCTURE
In 2016, the Tax Foundation ranked Ohio among the ten worst states for business tax climates, with only Minnesota, Vermont, California, New York and New Jersey ranking worse. The ranking compared the states on more than 100 variables in the five major areas of taxation (corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and property taxes) and then added the results to yield a final, overall ranking. Ohio fared poorly in the corporate and individual income taxes categories, with its CAT tax criticized for taxing gross receipts without allowing full deductions for business expenses such as the cost of goods sold or employee compensation. The OEDA supports the legislature’s continued efforts to make Ohio’s business tax structure more competitive.
AFFORDABLE & RELIABLE ENERGY
According to Mark Crawford, Contributing Editor to Area Development’s The Top Site Selection Factors of 2016, “energy availability and costs are important for every project, but especially critical for industries that consume large amounts of energy, such as manufacturing, distribution, and data centers.” Ohio is known for its industry clusters in these three areas. OEDA encourages the 132nd General Assembly to make energy policy a priority, ensuring that Ohio employers have consistent, affordable supplies of energy from both traditional and renewable sources. OEDA also encourages lawmakers to develop and support utility incentive programs that include rate discounts, tax exemptions, and grants for utility infrastructure improvements.
SUPPORT FOR EXISTING BUSINESSES, LARGE & SMALL
Between 60- 80 percent of new jobs come from businesses already located in a state (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, State Job Creation Strategies Often Off Base, February 3, 2016, Michael Mazerov and Michael Leachman). The OEDA therefore encourages the Ohio General Assembly to continue to support Ohio’s current small and large businesses and believes a permanent extension of the Ohio Enterprise Zone Program is a foundational component of such efforts. Large manufacturers, for example, could be incentivized to invest in machinery and equipment that allows them to remain globally competitive. Resources for small businesses through the ODSA’s Small Business Development Centers could be expanded so that Ohio’s rural and Appalachian areas are fully served.
YOU CAN SUPPORT THE OHIO ECONOMIC AGENDA BY INVESTING IN OEDA. INVESTORS SUPPORT OEDA’S PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS, MEMBERS SERVICES, SPECIAL EVENTS AND ADVOCACY EFFORTS.
Tools & Programs
Major economic development programs supported by OEDA include (but are not limited to) the following:
THE OHIO ENTERPRISE ZONE PROGRAM
In existence since 1982, this program is one of the most effective local government tools to attract new businesses or incentivize current businesses to expand. It is most often used for manufacturing or non-retail businesses. The program allows municipalities and counties to abate real property taxes (and tangible personal property taxes if applicable) for projects that include job creation. The program will expire October 15, 2017 unless extended. OEDA supports a permanent extension of the program.
COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT AREA PROGRAM
The CRA program allows municipalities and counties to designate areas where investment is needed as a CRA. The political subdivision can then incentivize investment in current or new structures by providing real property tax exemptions for the increased value of these revitalized parcels. The program is often used as a residential, retail and general business incentive.
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
TIF is an infrastructure-financing tool that allows municipalities, townships or counties to provide a property tax exemption for the increased property value from a commercial development project. The property owner is required to make service payments in lieu of the exempted real property taxes. Those PILOTs are used to pay for costs of the infrastructure improvements (or to pay debt service charges on bonds or notes issued to finance the infrastructure improvements).
DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT PROGRAM
This new program allows municipalities to designate districts of 10 acres or less in which they wish to incentivize development by implementing a mechanism similar to tax increment financing. Property tax exemptions are provided for the increased property value due to investments. The property owner is required to make service payments in lieu of the exempted real property taxes, which are then used to pay for infrastructure improvements in the district or for grants or loans to business owners in the district. Additional funding for the program can be gained by special assessments on property in the district if owners agree. Innovation Districts can also be created within a DRD to encourage the growth of tech-related businesses.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDIT PROGRAM
This program encourages preservation and restoration of historic structures by providing a state tax credit up to 25% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures for the rehabilitation of historic buildings.
PROPERTY ASSESSED CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM
The OEDA supports the PACE program, which allows energy improvements to be financed through assessments on a property owner’s real estate tax bill. The special assessments are used to secure local government bonds issued to fund the improvements without requiring the borrower or the sponsoring local government to pledge its credit. PACE financing enables property owners to reduce energy costs with no upfront investment and provides a secure repayment stream to bondholders.