GCP Raises the Bar for Support of Levy Increases

 

When GCP’s strategic plan called for a better understanding of the impact of our region’s tax climate, our members mobilized to support a deep-dive analysis. The result was an in-depth report that shows our region’s residents face a disproportionate tax burden when compared to peer cities.

In light of the report and other ongoing research, this week GCP’s Board of Directors endorsed a resolution stating the organization’s intent to oppose future levy millage increases that fail to demonstrate a unique and compelling contribution to our economy. The decision was made by GCP member leaders in anticipation of additional levy requests in 2020, on top of other potential increases that will appear before the end of 2019.

To read the full press release and the resolution, click here. You can read Cleveland.com’s coverage on the announcement here.

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  • Next up: GCP Urging Trade Stabilization and Modernization

    GCP Urging Trade Stabilization and Modernization

     

    The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition is a collective of chambers of commerce across the region that jointly advocate on core policy issues, including water quality, immigration reform, trade, and transportation and infrastructure. The National Small Business Association (NSBA) is a non-partisan organization with 65,000 members in every state and every industry in the country.

    And, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is intimately involved with both organizations continuing to call for passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

    The USMCA modernizes NAFTA to be more compatible with today’s economic environment. In fact, and for the first time in a U.S. free trade agreement, the USMCA includes a stand-alone chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This chapter of the USMCA aims to improve information-sharing, create a committee on SME issues, and develop a framework for ongoing stakeholder input.

    GCP calls on the small business community to urge federal policymakers to support passage of the USMCA. For the small business community, predictability on tariffs is key and any instability in this key policy area can impact a small business’ ability to plan for the future.  

    Click here to contact your lawmakers.

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  • Next up: GCP Visits Peer Cities to Learn More About Government Structural Reform

    GCP Visits Peer Cities to Learn More About Government Structural Reform

     

    When GCP’s strategic plan, ForwardCLE, called for a better understanding of the region’s collective tax climate, GCP commissioned a study that analyzed our tax environment’s impact on growth and competitiveness. The study—released in late April—found a stark difference in Cleveland’s tax levels compared to other peer cities. In short, the local tax burden in our region is significantly higher than in similar benchmark cities—nearly forty percent higher than the average per capita tax collections.

    A ballot-by-ballot approach to tax levies isn’t enough to create a positive environment for economic growth and inclusion—and our members are interested in exploring systemic solutions. As a result, the Advocacy team is examining potential paths forward for improvement, including structural reform or specific solutions that lay the foundation for future economic success and high-quality public services.

    So far, the team has engaged over 40 community stakeholders and visited several cities that have experience in this space. In the last several weeks, members of the GCP Advocacy team met with leaders in Louisville, Indianapolis, Nashville, and St. Louis—each of which consolidated or attempted to consolidate portions of city and county government services to create environments ripe for strategic advancements while improving services for residents. With lessons learned from those visits in hand, GCP will continue to engage Northeast Ohioans even more broadly about shaping the future of our region through possible structural change.

    To read past coverage about the tax study and potential reform, click here.

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  • Next up: GCP Hires Consultant to Perform GCRTA Financial Analysis and Presents to GCRTA Leadership

    GCP Hires Consultant to Perform GCRTA Financial Analysis and Presents to GCRTA Leadership


    Earlier this month the GCP Advocacy team provided an update to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) Board regarding its ongoing efforts to complete a fiscal analysis and economic forecast for the transit agency. Last fall, GCP assembled a taskforce of GCP member companies to guide this work. At a recent GCRTA board committee meeting, GCP’s Vice President of Government Advocacy, Alesha Washington, shared that GCP has hired a consulting group to complete this work. The team combines national expertise in transit finance and operations with a strong local understanding of GCRTA and its fiscal constraints.

    Since this work began in June 2018, GCP has actively worked with GCRTA leadership to develop an approach to studying the current system that will eventually allow GCP to make recommendations about its future, including the structure of a potential levy request. The first step of this effort was to secure a consultant—and now that a team is onboard, GCP will continue to work closely with GCRTA to produce a comprehensive and rigorous analysis. The GCP Advocacy team hopes to wrap up this work—which will culminate in a final report—in fall 2019.


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  • Next up: GCP Holds Seventh Annual DC Fly-In

    GCP Holds Seventh Annual DC Fly-In


    Last week, GCP held the Empowering Local Leadership Conference—it’s seventh annual DC Fly-In event. The conference was hosted in partnership with Northeast Ohio’s U.S. House of Representatives delegation—Congressman Dave Joyce, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, and Congressman Anthony Gonzalez. Thanks to the leadership of the House delegation and their staff, attendees from across the region connected to federally elected officials and policymakers.

    Throughout the conference, attendees heard from a range of White House officials, including James Carroll, Director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control, who spoke about Ohio’s ongoing challenges with the opioid epidemic. Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, addressed the group regarding EPA support for local municipalities. Finally, attendees heard from a host of White House officials about community revitalization efforts like Opportunity Zones, which GCP has played a key role in locally.

    During the opening night reception on the Hill, Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman spoke and connected with local leaders. Day two of the conference convened on the Hill again with an Ohio Delegation Breakfast. Participants heard from a range of Ohio delegation House members, but also from national leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Officials from the EPA, Department of Homeland Security, and White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council rounded out this year’s conference, providing valuable information about available federal resources.

    GCP thanks its sponsors for their support of this event, including leadership-level sponsors Westfield Group, Dominion Energy, MetroHealth, and BakerHostetler. Additional sponsors included CT Consultants, NOPEC, University Hospitals, and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.


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  • Next up: GCP-Supported Hemp Cultivation Bill Headed to Governor

    GCP-Supported Hemp Cultivation Bill Headed to Governor


    Ohio Senate Bill 57 (SB 57) was introduced in late February and the bill would formally decriminalize hemp in Ohio by excluding it from the definition of marijuana that is used to enforce controlled substance laws.  The latest federal farm bill, enacted by Congress, removed hemp from listing under the Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to regulate hemp through their departments of agriculture.

    A vast majority of states have now enacted legislation to establish industrial hemp cultivation and production programs.  Ohio does not currently have any specific laws in place regarding hemp or hemp products, and hemp and hemp products are prohibited in Ohio because hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana – cannabis.  Therefore, hemp is currently considered a Schedule I controlled substance under Ohio law.

    SB 57 – a bill GCP supported – passed in July with a clause that specifies that it will go into effect immediately, instead of roughly 90 days after the Governor signs it.  The reason is because Ohio is behind other states and the Department of Agriculture needs to set up the program so farmers can plant and have a harvest next spring.  Also, the bill includes provisions allowing the release of CBD products that authorities have seized under some circumstances, and the legislature wants people to be able to get their products back quickly.

    In line with federal law, SB 57 would allow for the sales of hemp, clearly defining hemp and marijuana as different.  Our membership sees merit in aligning state and federal laws – as it relates to hemp – allowing for a responsible, reputable hemp market with the potential to expand jobs and increase prosperity in Ohio.

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