Improving Ohio’s business climate

By Ryan Smith - Contributing Columnist

The American people are the proud owners of the largest and most advanced economy in the world, but this did not occur by chance.

Americans have driven the success that we see today through hard work, innovation and resourcefulness. Undertakings like the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad or the ingenuity needed to invent the modern computer operating system triggered tremendous growth for our country, which led to tens of thousands of new jobs. Unfortunately, the qualities that fueled our success have been stifled by government action.

All across our country, federal regulations and executive mandates have made it more challenging for businesses to be successful. Many businesses are finding that factors such as onerous EPA regulations and the increased cost of providing health insurance make it difficult to operate in the United States. Our area has been hit hard by these recent burdens and as a result we have seen major losses in the coal, steel and manufacturing industries.

To offset this undue burden, the Ohio Legislature has focused on passing legislation that will benefit the millions of Ohioans who are employed by private industry. These policies will support business development in Ohio.

The Ohio House worked to reduce the new business filing fee by 21 percent, making it cheaper and easier for small businesses to get started in Ohio. House Bill 3 not only cut the filing fee to under $100, but it also helped enhance the state’s job search website, OhioMeansJobs, to better connect employers with qualified job candidates. This will make job searches easier and aid employers looking to expand employment.

Since passing HB 3, the state has already seen a tremendous uptick in new business filings. About 9,746 new businesses opened in 2015, beating 2014’s record-setting number by 3,971 businesses. These encouraging numbers continued in 2016, as the first quarter business growth continued to surpass the growth seen in 2015. Ohio is on pace for a seventh consecutive year of seeing a record-setting number of entities filing to do business in our state.

The legislature also approved a significant tax reduction for Ohio businesses. Under this new tax plan, which has already gone into effect, Ohio businesses will see a 75 percent tax deduction on their first $250,000 of business income in 2016, and by 2017 the deduction will increase to 100 percent. Additionally, there will be a 3 percent flat tax on all business income that exceeds $250,000. In total, Ohio small businesses will see a total of approximately $949 million in tax reductions over the next two years — providing a much needed boost to our local economy.

Private industry faces enough challenges without fending off government intrusion, which is why I am proud of the pro-business policies that have been enacted here in Ohio. These efforts will provide growth opportunities for existing companies and will show out-of-state companies that Ohio is open for business.

We have a long way to go, but I am confident that these reforms will put Ohio and our area on the right track.

By Ryan Smith

Contributing Columnist

Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, represents the 93rd District in the Ohio House of Representatives

Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, represents the 93rd District in the Ohio House of Representatives