GCP Offers Support of Intrastate Crowdfunding Bill

 

GCP offered proponent testimony for Ohio House Bill 312, which permits intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances. Securing traditional sources of capital for the small business community can still serve as a challenge. New funding opportunities that make access to capital easier can help businesses achieve greater stability and predictability, particularly in challenging economic circumstances.

The ability for businesses to leverage diverse funding streams will help bolster our state economy and make Ohio a more attractive place for entrepreneurs. The goal of HB 312 is a step in the right direction to ensure Ohio continues to make strides in maintaining an economic environment conducive to startup entrepreneurship. For startups and small businesses that do not qualify for traditional lending or need to diversify their capital streams, HB 312 will help to ensure that is possible. 

The bill, sponsored by Representative Jena Powell, has its second hearing by the Senate Finance Committee last week. It was passed unanimously by the House in late 2019. To read GCP’s full testimony, click here.

 
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  • Next up: GCP Raises the Bar for Support of Levy Increases

    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 Reiterates Support for the Ohio Fairness Act

    GCP Reiterates Support for the Ohio Fairness Act

     

    House Bill 369 – a bill to enact the Ohio Fairness Act – received a hearing in the Ohio House of Representatives recently. The bill would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. 

    Many of our members – and GCP – have company policies in place that provide protections for LGBTQ workers. The House legislation is currently pending in the House Civil Justice Committee and GCP offered proponent testimony. Similar legislation exists in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 11, that GCP has also weighed-in on.

    Support for the Ohio Fairness Act followed GCP’s endorsement of Ohio Business Competes, a coalition of more than 300 companies that supports statewide non-discrimination policies for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

    Contact your legislator today and ask them to support the Ohio Fairness Act.

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  • Next up: GCP Supports HHS Levy; Officials to Further Examine Structural & Levy Reforms

    GCP Supports HHS Levy; Officials to Further Examine Structural & Levy Reforms

     

    GCP Supports Health and Human Services Levy

    GCP and County Leaders to Examine Future Structural, Levy Reform Possibilities

     CLEVELAND, January 28, 2020 – The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) announced the chamber of commerce’s support for a 4.7 mill eight-year Cuyahoga County health and human services (HHS) levy today.  In addition, the organization of more than 12,000 members vowed to convene with County officials to further examine HHS levy-related finances and agreed-upon measurements and metrics to help gauge progress going forward.  In order to help avoid a future HHS levy ballot increase beyond the March 2020 measure, the County plans to develop and publish HHS levy savings that are achieved.

    The HHS ballot measure will appear before voters in March.  The position aligns with GCP members’ support of the last two County health and human services levies.  GCP endorsed the 2016 renewal of a 4.8 mill HHS levy and the 2018 HHS renewal of a 3.9 mill levy.  In its 2018 endorsement, GCP member leaders vowed to closely and actively engage with the County on future levy proceedings. 

    “Cuyahoga County elected officials are to be commended for taking the business community’s concerns seriously in an ongoing effort to review possible taxpayer savings and improved services that can be achieved,” said Joe Roman, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.  “GCP believes support for the HHS levy increase is necessary because the effort demonstrates a severe and urgent societal need in which progress must be made to ensure economic vitality and those in need are protected sufficiently.  We think this can be achieved in concert with additional feedback and expertise from key stakeholders, partners, and the business community.”      

    In addition, GCP and County leaders agreed to establish a task force.  Among the purposes of the task force, will be to create an initial working group to explore and drive potential structural reforms.   Officials are committed to evaluating and pursuing reforms that may improve the overall efficiency of our local tax system to offer improved services and remain competitive with peer cities.

    “The business community’s support and expertise on health and human services issues over the years has been crucial,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.  “We’re fortunate to live in a compassionate region that understands the necessity of this HHS levy increase – an increase we have not proposed in my time as County Executive.  Like GCP, I also recognize the need to coordinate future tax levies in our region and continue to look for improvements we can make surrounding structural reforms and I am committed, and welcome others, to engage in those discussions going forward.  Finally, we are committed to working to ensure a health and human services tax increase is avoidable in 2024.”

    “Approving the HHS levy request this March is essential in order to protect those in our community who are most in need,” said Cuyahoga County Council President Dan Brady.  “We thank GCP for their support and we look forward to working with its members to identify additional cost savings and transparent metrics that can be identified to improve upon the significant progress we are making as community for our children and seniors.”

    GCP’s strategic plan, ForwardCLE, called for a better understanding of the impact of our collective tax climate.  The proposed health and human services levy represents the second major local tax increase proposal since data was released from the GCP tax analysis.  Additional local tax levy increases are also expected in 2020.  GCP has continually reiterated that the purpose of these important exercises and raising the bar for support for future tax levy increases is to seek areas for improvement, not to single out any one tax or entity.  This position is consistent with GCP’s stated resolve to address the unsustainable trajectory of tax growth and meets our stated basis for exception and creates a path and shared commitment to needed reform.

    “As stated previously, it is our sincere hope the public, private, philanthropic sectors, and others can come together to better understand and examine a more cost-effective means of providing vital government services in our region to benefit the communities they serve,” said Scott Chaikin, who serves as GCP Board Chair and Executive Chairman of Dix & Eaton.  “Our members are proud to offer support for the latest health and human services proposal.  We cannot afford to become complacent as a region, however, and working with public officials and our communities is a key ingredient to achieving the success and improvement we all desire.”

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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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