Common Sense Initiative: 2017 Mid-Year Update

Created in 2011, the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) has focused on promoting innovation and  the practical regulation of businesses in Ohio.  In addition, two Greater Cleveland Partnership members provide state government direction on the CSI Small Business Advisory Council, a body devised to provide feedback on the impact state rules or regulations may have on the business community.  CSI’s mission is to:

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    • review business-impacting rules;
    • help businesses navigate regulatory obstacles; and
    • partner with agencies on initiatives that will make Ohio friendly to job creators.

    CSI recently released its 2017 Mid-Year Report detailing the actions it took between Jan. 1, 2017, and June 30, 2017. Highlights from the first half of the year, according to the report, include:

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    • the review of more than 1,500 business regulations, with 55% being amended or rescinded;
    • modernization of the Ohio Business Gateway, with the rollout of Phase 1 scheduled for fall 2017;
    • completed reviews of 55% of rule packages in 30 days or less; and

    Rule review breakdown

    CSI provided a deeper dive into the actions it took on the 1,515 rules reviewed during the first half of the year. Of the total number of rules reviewed:

    • 44% were amended;
    • 29% were left unchanged;
    • 16% represented new rules; and
    • 11% were rescinded.

    Further, a total of 147 rule packages were reviewed (56% of these packages were impacted by CSI) and CSI received a total of 454 stakeholder comments.

    Do you have questions or comments about CSI and how it impacts the growth of your business? Contact our Advocacy Team via email at advocacy@gcpartnership.com

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    Next up: Congress is Back...Briefly

    Congress is Back...Briefly

    After a five-week summer break and with about two weeks to spare, Congress will look to pass a continuing resolution (CR) appropriations bill by September 30 to avoid a federal government shutdown. 

    After a five-week summer break and with about two weeks to spare, Congress will look to pass a continuing resolution (CR) appropriations bill by September 30 to avoid a federal government shutdown. The House and Senate chambers have made it clear that a CR is more than likely the only piece of legislation that will be approved before midterm elections. However, a couple non-spending items, that are of particular interest to small businesses could also be included.

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    Export-Import Bank Reauthorization

    One of the non-spending measures receiving attention is the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank). Over its 80 year lifespan, Ex-Im Bank has been reauthorized by Congress 16 times. The Ex-Im Bank works with brokers and lenders to ensure businesses, both large and small, have what they need to export and import their products and allow the small business community to be competitive in the international market. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with the private sector and is designed to help small businesses expand and create jobs, tackle new markets, and compete globally by providing financial mechanisms such as working capital financing, export-credit insurance and financial guarantees.

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    Over the past five years, Ex-Im Bank has financed more small business exports than ever before, a near 90 percent in FY 2013, generated $2 billion for U.S. taxpayers, and supported 1.2 million American jobs all at the cost of $0 for the U.S. taxpayer. With a history of bipartisan support, U.S. House leaders are considering an extension of the Bank’s charter through June 30, 2015. 

    More info on the Export-Import Bank: The Facts about the Ex-Im-Bank 

    Internet Tax Freedom Act Extension

    The second piece that could be included in the CR bill is a temporary extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act that is due to expire on November 1. Passed in 1998, the Internet Tax Freedom Act was authorized to keep Americans from being taxed for their Internet and broadband use. Extending this act is important because the Internet connects small business employers to new markets and consumers worldwide. It also provides for a whole new market of job attraction, training and education. Congress’ continuing resolution could potentially extend the Act on a short-term basis through December 11, 2014, which would provide employers with temporary certainty regarding tax-free Internet usage. 

    COSE works closely with our federal partners, the National Small Business Association. For more detailed information on the CR please visit their website at: www.nsba.biz. 


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    Next up: COSE Advocacy Event Input Needed

    COSE Advocacy Event Input Needed

    We want to ensure our annual COSE Day at the Capitol event meets your needs and expectations as closely as possible. That’s why we’re asking you to take a brief, three-question survey that will help guide our thinking about future small business advocacy events going forward.

    Earlier this month, approximately 50 COSE/Greater Cleveland Partnership members traveled down to Columbus to take part in the annual COSE Day at the Capitol event.

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    RELATED: Read a recap of this year’s COSE Day at the Capitol

    While we’re extremely pleased with the results and active participation in this year’s COSE Day, we’re also always focused on creating an event that meets your needs and provides as much value to you as possible. That’s why we would like you to take a moment to answer this brief, three-question survey about how we have set-up COSE Day at the Capitol in the past and how COSE advocacy events may improve in the future. You can find the link below.

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    It should take you no more than one minute to answer the questions. Two of the questions are related to whether you enjoy and are able to take the time to travel to Columbus for a full day or if you would prefer a potential day meeting with legislators and policymakers in downtown Cleveland. The final question is open ended and is your opportunity to provide general feedback on how we can improve your COSE advocacy experience.

    Take our COSE Day at the Capitol survey

    You can learn more about our annual COSE Day at the Capitol excursion by clicking here. And check out our Advocacy Page for more on how we work directly with our small business members to provide local, state, and federal government with specific, pragmatic ideas and opportunities that further foster a positive environment and allow for small business achievement—for all of us—in all of our communities.

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    Next up: How Was Your Small Business Represented in 2014?

    How Was Your Small Business Represented in 2014?

    COSE advocacy decisions are guided by our small business members. You determine the public policy initiatives and the issues we work on in areas that we can have the greatest impact. Our activity relies on your experience and expertise and with your help COSE provided our more than 10,000 members and our local Chamber of Commerce partners with direct access to elected officials through small business site visits and tours, COSE Day at the Capitol in Columbus, and the National Small Business Association’s Washington Presentation in D.C. 

    COSE advocacy decisions are guided by our small business members. You determine the public policy initiatives and the issues we work on in areas that we can have the greatest impact. Our activity relies on your experience and expertise and with your help COSE provided our more than 10,000 members and our local Chamber of Commerce partners with direct access to elected officials through small business site visits and toursCOSE Day at the Capitol in Columbus, and the National Small Business Association’s Washington Presentation in D.C. 

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    If you were unable to participate in any of the opportunities available to you last year, the COSE advocacy team met face-to-face with hundreds of elected officials, policymakers, and key stakeholders on your behalf. Whether we used the stories you provided us to submit formal testimony before the 130th Ohio General Assembly or shared your feedback on the “politics of small business” with the media, your voice was heard. If you’re interested in learning more about ways to get involved in the future, please contact the COSE advocacy team today. In the meantime, the following is a snapshot of some of the successes the small business community shared on local and state matters affecting the small business community in 2014. 

    A look back
    At the local level, COSE supported and campaigned for the passage of three important local levies that gained voter approval: Alcohol & Tobacco Tax Extension; Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD); and the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).

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    In addition, COSE (through COSE Advocacy Committee members) formally supported various pieces of state legislation that were signed into law:

    Senate Bill 3: Regulatory Reform
    In support of SB 3, COSE provided both written and oral testimony before the respective committees this legislation was assigned to. SB 3 ensures small businesses are a part of the rule-making process and have the ability and opportunity to react and better affect necessary changes before a potentially burdensome rule is implemented.

    House Bill 218:Entrepreneur-in-Residence Pilot Program
    COSE provided testimony in support of HB 218 in the spring encouraging the Ohio House and Senate to pass legislation that provides for enhanced communication and understanding between state agencies and small business employers through a pilot program that can help address the need to provide small business owners with necessary resources and support offered by an agency.

    House Bill 493: Workers’ Compensation Law Proposals
    HB 493 provides the BWC with flexibility to deliver services in a more efficient manner for small businesses by requiring, rather than permitting, the Administrator of Workers' Compensation to calculate workers' compensation premiums for most employers on a prospective, rather than retrospective, basis.

    SB 263: Tax Overpayments
    SB 263 requires the Ohio Department of Taxation to either apply a tax overpayment to future tax liabilities or issue a refund, and to make an appropriation.

    HB 5: Municipal Tax Reform 
    HB 5 simplifies Ohio’s complicated municipal income tax structure making it easier for businesses and taxpayers to comply. Governor Kasich signed HB 5 into law on December 19. For more information on the organizations COSE partnered with on this initiative, please view the Ohio Municipal Tax Reform Coalition website.

    HB 483: Small Business Tax Credit
    HB 483 implements the full 10% income tax cut which will be applied to tax year 2014. This equals an immediate $400 million tax cut. HB 483 also extends and increases the Small Business Tax Credit from the previous 50% deduction small businesses were allowed to deduct from their first $250,000 of business income to 75%. 

    HB 511 (HB 201): Harmonization of Ohio Health Insurance Laws, Affordable Care Act

    HB 511 (HB 201) further aligns Ohio’s health care laws with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the federal level.  For example, Ohio will now use a uniform age of 26 for unmarried dependent children to be allowed on their parents insurance.

    Thank you and a look ahead

    COSE would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to every member and partner that participated in the various advocacy opportunities and events offered throughout 2014.  Your efforts and experiences drive our small business advocacy endeavors.  Last year is in the rearview mirror and we look forward to serving small business in the new year.  The governor will unveil his budget proposal for the 2016 and 2017 budget years in the near future and we look forward to using the COSE 2015 – 2016 Public Policy Agenda, that was fueled by your feedback, to drive our work in the days ahead.  We certainly appreciate your continued support and if you have not participated in COSE advocacy functions in the past, we encourage you to learn more about the many ways you can get involved.


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    Next up: COSE Celebrates National Small Business Week

    COSE Celebrates National Small Business Week

    To entrepreneurs everywhere who are following their dreams, we wish you a happy National Small Business Week.


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    Next up: COSE Commends Legislature for Clarifying Budget Language

    COSE Commends Legislature for Clarifying Budget Language

    The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) applauded the Ohio General Assembly today for clarifying language included in the state biennium budget which passed this summer that ensures small business owners will receive the full tax relief intended. Senate Bill 208, which passed the state legislature overwhelmingly, makes technical changes to state income tax law that makes certain not even a few small business owners will face an unprecedented tax bill this year before they're fully and permanently exempt from paying business income on their first $250,000 in 2016. 

    COSE commends legislature for clarifying budget language that ensures small business owners receive intended tax relief

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    The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) applauded the Ohio General Assembly today for clarifying language included in the state biennium budget which passed this summer that ensures small business owners will receive the full tax relief intended. Senate Bill 208, which passed the state legislature overwhelmingly, makes technical changes to state income tax law that makes certain not even a few small business owners will face an unprecedented tax bill this year before they're fully and permanently exempt from paying business income on their first $250,000 in 2016. 

    Senate Bill 208 clarifies for tax year 2015 that the small business exemption will be:

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    • 75% of a business’ first $250,000 in income
    • The remaining 25% will be taxed using the current graduated rates (reduced by 6.3% across the board income tax reduction in the budget bill)
    • A 3% flat rate on any income above $250,000

    Senate Bill 208 did not make changes to tax year 2016 in that the small business exemption will be:

    • 100% of a business’ first $250,000 in income
    • A 3% flat rate on any income above $250,000

    “We never believed it was the intent of the legislature or Governor to raise taxes on some small businesses this year - which was essentially an error in the drafting process – and COSE appreciates leadership for making this needed correction,” said COSE President and Executive Director Steve Millard. “The tax deductions now in place send a strong signal that our elected officials view small business as a priority.”

    The budget bill that passed this summer called for a flat 3% tax rate on business income above $250,000 – beginning in 2016. What the budget did not account for, is to provide for differing tax rates (as state tax code previously did) for taxable business income below $250,000 in 2015. Therefore, the 3% rate that would have gone in to effect for all taxable business income after the 75% small business tax deduction on the first $250,000 of income this year could have caused taxes to increase for some small business owners. Senate Bill 208 is expected to be signed by the Governor in the near future, effectively closing this tax loophole.

    “These tax relief measures are consistent with our views on providing predictable support for small business that encourages economic flexibility, stability, and growth,” added Millard. “COSE has and will continue to support sound tax policies that allow business owners to re-invest back into their companies, workforce, and communities.”

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