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).
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.