Governor DeWine Signs Biennial State Operating Budget


Ohio’s process for a biennial spending bill that sets the state FY2020 – 2021 budget has concluded.  The GCP Public Policy Agenda, based on feedback from the NE Ohio business community, focuses on three leading areas to allow for and advance growth and innovation in Northeast Ohio: An Adaptable Government & Public Sector; A Sustainable & Predictable Tax & Regulatory Environment; Talent Development & Retention to Advance Business Growth. Below is a summary of a few of the headline policy issues that are of importance to GCP members – many of which, the GCP advocacy team have been deeply engaged in – and how these issues were addressed in Ohio’s new budget.

Business Income Deduction (BID) / Taxes

Since its inception a few years ago, GCP members have maintained that preserving Ohio’s small business tax deduction on the first $250,000 in business income allows entrepreneurs greater ability to plan and invest in their companies and workforce. 

The future of the BID was in jeopardy as state budget talks progressed, but in the end the deal kept the first $250,000 of income for limited liability corporations and other business entities tax-free and maintained an existing 3% flat rate on income above that.  Language was included that make lawyers and lobbyists ineligible for the BID; this change was supposedly meant to guard against individuals who utilize the BID and form businesses without hiring any employees.

Over the years and consistently throughout the budget process, GCP members continued to provide examples of the importance of the BID and urged against shifting the tax burden from one group of taxpayers to another.  GCP applauds elected leaders for their support of the business community on this key issue.

The new budget also mirrored other GCP tax priorities by maintaining today’s sales tax base, the current commercial activity tax (CAT) rate, and upholding today’s CAT exemption level.

The bill effectively eliminated taxes for people in Ohio’s lowest two tax brackets and cut other tax rates by 4%.

Lastly, the legislation set a threshold of $100,000 in Ohio sales or 200-plus transactions in Ohio for sales tax collection by online sellers, as proposed by the House, while adopting Senate changes to the conditions under which a "marketplace facilitator" must collect sales taxes.

Regulatory Reform

Ohio’s signed budget includes provisions that would require state agencies to review and repeal regulatory restrictions over the course of the next four years. GCP submitted testimony numerous times, on behalf of our members, in support of this effort over the course of the last two years.  Congruent with the GCP Public Policy Agenda, our members believe regulatory restrictions should continually be evaluated and focus on consistency and predictability – especially for small or middle-market businesses that may struggle to comply. 

Qualified Energy Project Exemption

The state budget extends, by two years from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2022, the deadline by which the owner or lessee of a qualified renewable energy project may apply for a property tax exemption. And, it clarifies the calculation of payments-in-lieu-of taxes, paid by solar energy projects that receive the exemption.

Medical Marijuana

A GCP Board member serves on the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, continually looking out for the interests of employers. Ohio’s budget requires the Ohio State Highway Patrol to purchase drug testing equipment for the purpose of determining the level of THC in marijuana or hemp.

Opportunity Zones

The final bill creates an Opportunity Zone Investment tax credit equal to 10% of an individual’s investment in Ohio Opportunity Zone investment funds, up to $1 million per biennium. GCP supported an amendment—to create an Opportunity Zone Study Committee to study impact investment strategies that support more highly distressed rural and urban communities—that was not included in the final bill.

School Funding

Governor DeWine vetoed a minimum per-student funding guarantee for all school districts, which would have set the minimum at the amount of $1,300 per student. The final bill appropriated $275 million in FY2020 and $400 million in FY2021 for wraparound student wellness and success services.

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation / Industrial Commission Budgets

GCP offers a group rated workers’ compensation program that can provide savings on premiums and safety discount programs.  Ultimately, contentious provisions were removed from a state workers’ compensation funding bill that supports administrative costs to help injured workers receive care needed.  The Governor also recently signed into law a non-controversial $109.5 million two-year budget for the Ohio Industrial Commission, which handles appeals for workers’ compensation disputes. 

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  • Next up: How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You

    How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You

    If you are a small business owner, then sales is a part of your business—for better or for worse. If you are not a natural seller, follow this advice to lead up to and land a sale.


    Your job as a small business owner and as a professional is to figure out what problem exists for a prospective client. Is the problem important enough for them to fix and do they need your help? If the answers to these questions are yes, it’s time to start selling. During a recent COSE WebEd Webinar titled “How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You” Rick McDermott of Sandler Training, identified planning tools that would-be salespeople should keep in mind when meeting with would-be customers.

    One of these effective planning tools is the “KARE Profiling Tool”. Here’s how it works:

    Keep accounts—these are the ones that do all their business with you. You are basically in maintenance with this type of account, and they are also known as your “raving fans.” Use them and their testimonies to help you acquire new accounts and even more raving fans.

    Attain accounts—these are the accounts you don’t currently have, but you’d like to. Make a list of who you want to go after. Who are your ideal accounts? How do I get in front of them?

    Recapture accounts—These are accounts you might have had previously, but for one reason or another you do not currently do business with them. It is important to have a strategy to go back and recapture these accounts, if they are ones you want back.

    Expand accounts – these are clients who already do business with you, but they could be doing more. These are commonly seen as the low-hanging fruit to growing your business.

    Focus on your fans

    Most of your focus should be on customers who are already in love with you. You must believe what you do is fantastic for your clients and have a process to show them that.

    Also, before you begin selling, make sure you understand the anxiety crevasse that exists between you and your clients. You need to be able to overcome potential clients’ fear, anxiety and doubt, and be able to deal with these pressures during sales calls.

    Every salesperson or company should adopt a selling system that works well for them. This is the process by which you develop an opportunity from start to finish. Whether that finish is closing the sale or closing the file, you must have a defined beginning and end.

    For Sandler, the selling system flows as follows:

    • relationship building;
    • bonding and rapport;
    • creation of upfront contracts;
    • finding a way to qualify people before giving them your intellectual property;
    • product or service fulfillment; and
    • a post-sell relationship or follow-up.

    Don’t give away your product for free

    Never give up your product or service before the sale has been made. Once you give your product and service away, it’s over. There may not be any reason for the would-be client to pay your or to continue business with you.

    Once you have pitched your sale, there are four positive results:

    • a “yes” response;
    • a “no” response (this is positive in the fact that you can now move on);
    • a response that indicates you have a clear future together, such as establishing a next meeting date;
    • a referral or introduction to do business with someone else; and
    • lessons learned (ask them what you could have done better and learn from their feedback)

    Takeaways

    Don’t get between your prospect and where you want them to go. Don’t get overly anxious to get to the sale just because they appear interested. If you are way more interested in the transaction than the prospect is, that is not a good sign for the future of your relationship with that client.

    Miss this webinar or need a refresher on what was discussed? Check out the full replay below:



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  • Next up: Month in Review: July 2019

    Month in Review: July 2019

    If you have been on summer break from the blog, check out this recap of some of the stand-out articles from July.

    You may have been in vacation-mode this summer, but we are business as usual on the blog. Check out some of our favorite Mind Your Business articles from July.

    Building the Matrix: Who’s Responsible for Your Company’s Decisions?

    You can follow the law, carefully think through your options and consult with others. But even proceeding with extreme caution won't guarantee the outcome you're hoping for with every decision that's made for your company. Learn how the matrix of authority can help

    The Importance of GCP’s PAC

    From the state budget to infrastructure to the environment, there are many crucial public policy issues in Ohio today. As the political landscape continually evolves it is more important than ever for our business members to have a seat at the table. Learn more about GCP's political action committee.

    Can Businesses Avoid Minimum Wage Requirements by Bartering Services?

    In an effort to boost their bottom line, small businesses often barter services with independent contractors. If you're considering bartering as an option, follow these legal guidelines and tips to ensuring your business is protected.

    How to Handle HR Situations Without Having an HR Department

    You wear many hats as a small business owner. And, if you don't have a formal human resources department, HR director might be one of them. Follow these three steps to help address HR issues on your own.

    3 Things to Know: Vacationing as a Small Business Owner

    Whether you hit the beach, climb mountains or simply enjoy a stay-cation, it's important to give yourself a break--even if you run your own business. But before you put up your 'gone fishing' sign, read these three things to know about vacationing as a small business owner.

    What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from July? Let us know on Twitter!


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  • Next up: Month in Review: June 2019

    Month in Review: June 2019

    From how to improve where your business appears in Google search results, to whether or not your emails are missing their mark, June was a hot month on the blog.


    It’s finally summer in Cleveland and we’re heating things up on Mind Your Business. Check out some of our favorite articles from June.

    Making Relationships Work

    Before you enter into a new business relationship, it's imperative you really know your new partner. Here is the basic information you need to know, and the proof you need to see, in order to ensure your partnerships work for you.

    Online Marketing: Lessons From a Google Leader

    From recipes that call for apples to a place to go ziplining, you can find it all on Google. But, how easy is it to find your business? Follow these tips to help improve where you appear in search results.

    Do Your Emails Suck?

    Yeah, we said it—your emails just might suck. If you’re sending long attachments, using all caps, sounding too formal, or committing any of these 15 worst email practices, you’re probably missing the mark with your emails.

    Will Changes to Canadian Trademark Laws Impact Your Business?

    If you conduct business or are a trademark owner in Canada, it's imperative that you are familiar with changes on the horizon for Canadian trademark laws, specifically with registration and fees.

    What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from June? Let us know on Twitter!


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  • Next up: Be Heard: National Regulatory Fairness Hearing

    Be Heard: National Regulatory Fairness Hearing

    The Small Business Administration’s National Ombudsman Office is a resource for entrepreneurs, trade associations, nonprofits and small government entities who are facing unfair enforcement actions, excessive penalties, fines and other regulatory issues with federal agencies. The Regulatory Fairness Board is strictly non-partisan and it aims to:

    -Resolve regulatory disputes with federal agencies
    -Reduce unfair penalties and fines
    -Seek remedies when regulations are inconsistently applied

    The Regulatory Fairness Board is seeking your input via an upcoming public hearing where small businesses can amplify their concerns.  Organizations or small business owners wishing to be allotted time to testify must submit written testimony in advance to ombudsman@sba.gov no later than Monday, August 5, 2019.

    A Greater Cleveland Partnership volunteer leader, Keith Ashmus, serves as a representative on the Regulatory Fairness Board for Region V, which covers Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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  • Next up: Ohio’s Congressional Reps Introduce GLRI Act of 2019

    Ohio’s Congressional Reps Introduce GLRI Act of 2019

    Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Senator Rob Portman introduced identical bills in both chambers of Congress in late July to address the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2019, which would reauthorize and increase federal funding to protect the lakes, includes nearly 40 bipartisan sponsors from the Great Lakes region.

    The bill extends funding for the GLRI through 2026 and increases funds to $375 million in 2022. The bill also raises funding by $25 million every year until 2026, when it reaches $475 million.

    GCP has led advocacy work of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) since 2018—advocating for renewed GLRI funding to protect the lakes, which serve as a major economic force. You can learn more about the work of the GLMCC here.

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