Ohio House Proposes Rolling Back Business Tax Deduction

The Ohio House of Representatives passed their version of a state budget last week. Changes will be made to the bill in the Ohio Senate before the legislature will present a budget bill to the Governor by June 30. 

In the House version, Ohio's small business tax deduction was decreased substantially to make-up for another round of income tax cuts.  To pay for it, the tax burden would shift. 

GCP has urged and will continue to urge state leaders to consider the following based on feedback from our members:

  • Preserve Ohio’s current small business tax deduction. GCP has consistently heard directly from our members that utilize these dollars to reinvest back into their companies and workforce.  Reducing the maximum deduction for business income from $250,000 to $100,000 would seriously jeopardize future planning and investments.

  • Maintain the 3% flat tax rate that pass-through businesses pay on earnings over $250,000. Most small businesses are set-up as pass through entities, meaning they pay taxes on business income at the income tax rate of their individual owners.  Ensuring the proper treatment for a variety of business types, expenses, and investments made by business owners, to support the growth of their businesses, is a critical focus in deliberations on tax policy.  Predictability and stability are crucial.

Shifting the burden from one group of taxpayers to another exacerbates already existing challenges for Ohio businesses. 

Call your Ohio Senator today and explain the ramifications associated with these damaging tax proposals.

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  • Next up: Update: Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program

    Update: Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program

    Marijuana remains classified as an illegal controlled substance under federal law, yet medical marijuana technically became legal in Ohio on September 8, 2016.  Meanwhile, the rules and regulations are being systematically rolled out and finalized by state agencies that are required by law to take all actions necessary to ensure the program is operational no later than September 2018.  At that time, there will be an established structure for Ohioans with a qualifying medical condition to obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana, purchase it from a licensed dispensary, and consume medical marijuana.

    The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) did not take a formal position on the state’s medical marijuana legislation.  Our members instead sought to enhance employer rights and the GCP worked to secure protections included in the legislation that is now law.  Those protections, for example, state employers can still establish and enforce drug testing, drug-free workplace, and zero-tolerance drug policies.  And, the Governor appointed a GCP/COSE board member to serve in an employer role on the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee; the role represents employers’ views and interests as public input and proceedings continue.

    So, what’s on the horizon?  The Advisory Committee will meet for a seventh time on June 8 to continue the rules process that will eventually govern growers, dispensaries, patients, caregivers, physicians, processors, and testing labs.  Applications for small-scale cultivator licenses will be accepted by the state June 5 to June 16 and applications for large-scale licenses will be accepted June 19 to June 30. 

    Updates on Ohio’s legalization process are available at medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov

    How should your business prepare for medical marijuana in Ohio?  Read more here.

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  • Next up: Ohio's Common Sense Initiative

    Ohio's Common Sense Initiative

    Are there rules or regulations that are hindering you from growing your business? Do you want to change Ohio’s regulatory framework to help spur innovation and job creation? The Ohio Common Sense Initiative (CSI) needs your help.

    CSI’s mission is to look at state regulations from the perspective of job creators in order to make Ohio a better place to do business. CSI is tasked with reviewing Ohio’s regulatory system to eliminate excessive and duplicative regulations that hinder job creation.

    While regulations play an important role in ensuring fair competition and protecting public health and safety, regulations also should facilitate economic growth. Ohio’s regulatory process should be built on transparency, accountability, and performance, and should hold state agencies accountable to those foundations as they develop and renew regulations that impact business.

    Since the program was launched, CSI has reviewed nearly 15,000 state agency regulations, and has identified 60 percent of those regulations as potential obstacles to job creation and economic growth.  Those regulations were amended or rescinded thanks to more than 7,200 comments from businesses and other stakeholders.  The effect this public input had on changing Ohio’s regulatory framework illustrates the ability of the CSI rule review process to engage industry stakeholders in the development of more effective regulations.

    Click here and subscribe to receive alerts from the agencies that effect your industry and be a part of the conversation by submitting comments through the Business Impact Analysis.

    You can also help identify areas where government hinders your ability to create jobs by submitting your solutions to CSIOhio@governor.ohio.gov  or by calling 1-855-821-8898.

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  • Next up: Ohio Senator Re-Introduces 'End Government Shutdowns Act'

    Ohio Senator Re-Introduces 'End Government Shutdowns Act'

    With the country’s longest federal government shutdown now in the rearview mirror and funding for the federal government set to expire yet again on February 15 – unless Congress passes another appropriations bill – many have longed for a day when government shutdowns can be averted for good.  Senator Rob Portman – along with more than thirty other co-sponsors – is one policymaker that hopes to prevent government shutdowns in the future.

    Earlier this year, Senator Portman re-introduced legislation that received bi-partisan support in the past that would aim to better ensure essential government services aren’t disrupted.  The bill (S.104 - End Government Shutdowns Act) states that if a spending bill is not decided by the end of the fiscal year, the government would be funded at the same rate as the previous year.  After the first 120 days, funding would be reduced by one percent, and by one percent again every 90 days thereafter, until Congress finishes the appropriations process. 

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  • Next up: Our 17 Favorite Stories from 2017

    Our 17 Favorite Stories from 2017

    We’re kicking off 2018 with a look back at the 17 Mind Your Business stories that we liked the most during the past year.

    We’re ringing in the New Year with a look back at 17 of our favorite Mind Your Business articles from 2017. So, grab a glass of some bubbly and check out what you might have missed this last year.

    No. 1: Ohio’s minimum wage on the increase

    Here’s how much Ohio’s minimum wage will be increasing for 2018—and why.

    No. 2: Recharge without having to restart

    Your business takes up a lot of your time, but you can still manage to break away to recharge your batteries without everything going to pieces at your company. Check out these steps to effectively making work-life balance a priority in 2018.

    No. 3: Make meetings great again

    Were you involved in a lot of unproductive, unstructured and boring meetings this year? The first in a two-part series, this article can help ensure you don’t make the same mistakes in 2018. Turn your company’s meetings into one of the most enjoyable parts of your day. Honest!

    No. 4: Underrated social platforms

    Facebook Shmacebook: 4 Under-the-Radar Social Channels You Need to Start Using Now

    It’s possible you’ve never even heard of these social media platforms, but they could be just what your company needs to build a better, more effective social presence in the New Year. Check out these four options that may not carry the fame of Facebook, but that are sure to make it easier for your business to stand out.

    And for more social media best practices, swing on by our social hub.

    No. 5: Health is the best wealth

    Companies need to be proactive in establishing a culture of wellness and safety at their facilities. This includes offering incentives to increase buy-in, holding “walking meetings” and more. Here’s a summary of some of the things your company can do to promote wellbeing. Make it your New Year’s resolution!

    No. 6: Double the fun?

    It might not seem like a huge deal at first, but Twitter doubling its character limit on tweets could have some ramifications for your business. Be clear, concise and creative in 2018.

    No. 7: Show me the money

    You’ve heard a lot from us this year about the economic sense it makes to audit your building to find areas where you can make your facility more energy efficient. Now, let us show you a real-life example of a local Cleveland company and COSE member that went through this process and the real money the company received as a result. It just might be the inspiration you need to take energy efficiency action this year.

    Speaking of your energy financials, our Energy Team can also help you decipher the often confusing language in your energy contract.

    No. 8: More time in the day: Priceless

    Wish you had more time in the day? From simplifying your inbox and creating routines to going paperless and waking up an hour earlier…here are a dozen life hacks that will add time back to your day. Your wish is our command!

    No. 9: Read anything good lately?

    And if you haven’t, here’s another idea for a New Year’s resolution. With so many business books out there, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which ones will help you accomplish the goals you have set for you and your business. To help you narrow down your choices, here’s a list of quality reading material we ran last spring. Well, what are you waiting for?

    No. 10: Do the side hustle

    Here’s another New Year’s resolution for you: Are you resolving to finally putting that great skill or idea in place? Side hustles are becoming an increasingly popular option for individuals who want to pursue entrepreneurship without giving up full-time jobs. At JumpStart’s 2017 Startup Scaleup event, we learned tips for growing side hustles while holding down day jobs at the Mastering the Side Hustle panel.

    No. 11: Turn customers into devoted fans

    You don’t want customers. You want a loyal base of individuals who are going to stick with your business no matter what. Check out these six ways to make customers feel better about you and your company brand than they do about your competitors. Your success in 2018 just might rely on it.

    No. 12: Passing the personality test

    This year we took a moment to sit down with Maia Ballard of RWJ Wiring, a recent graduate of the COSE Strategic Planning Course, to discuss takeaways from the course. Ballard shared with us how personality tests can help your business focus in on making the right hire.

    No. 13: Effective delegation is a win-win

    Here’s how entrepreneurs like you can greatly benefit from effective delegation—and so can the staff members picking up those tasks. It’s a true win-win!

    No. 14: Less kvetching, more kibbitzing

    Networking is often thought of as one of those dirty words that can make you cringe. But is it all in the way you look at these opportunities to connect that influences what you get out of them? Don’t kvetch about your upcoming networking functions. Make 2018 the year of kibbitzing instead!

    No. 15: Don’t let your data be held hostage

    How to Protect Yourself from a Ransomware Attack

    In 2017 we heard a lot about ransomware attacks. These types of invasions can be scary, and even devastating, to a small business. In this brief video, Steve Giordano from Team Logic IT shares how you can protect yourself and your business from a ransomware attack.

    Want a deeper dive on this topic? Check out these 11 ways to keep your company safe from digital threats.

    No. 16: FAQs about COSE’s MEWA

    We took a deeper dive into nine of the most frequent questions we receive from members about how the COSE MEWA works and how it may be a good benefit option for small businesses. Get your questions answered here or email COSEbenefits@medmutual.com.

    No. 17: How to hire and keep the best

    To help you alleviate the challenge of finding and keeping talented workers, members of COSE’s Strategic Planning Course took part in a roundtable discussion on some of the things entrepreneurs should keep in mind as they dip into the talent pool and also try to retain the staff they already have.

    What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from 2017? Let us know on Twitter!

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  • Next up: Paid Search: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Campaign

    Paid Search: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Campaign

    A great paid search campaign begins before you write your first ad text, or develop a keyword list. Think of the following as homework.

    A paid search campaign is a great way to efficiently reach a targeted audience that is interested in what your small business is selling. But there are a few things a business owner needs to think about before embarking on such a campaign. Actually, make that 11 things. Don’t be too intimidated; spending a little bit of time on the front end will help ensure your campaign is as effective as possible.

    Here’s what you need to consider:

    1. What are you selling?
    Be as specific as possible. Look at your product or service from as many different angles as you can think of and try to boil down why your target audience would be interested in it.

    2. Who is your audience?
    Take just as critical of a look at your audience as you just did at your product. This is going to make writing your text ads a lot easier. Some things to think about here include: How old is your audience? What do they like? Where are they located? Keep in mind that who you think your audience is might change based on the paid search data that flows in from your campaign.

    3. Tailor your ad
    Now that you have a deep understanding of your product or service, think about how you are going to put together your ad. Again, some things to think about here are: What is the buying cycle for your product or service? Is what you’re selling simple to use? Is the landing page relevant? Do you have good keyword saturation?

    RELATED: Learn more about keywords and creating a digital SEO strategy

    OK, now it’s time to start thinking about writing those text ads and developing keyword lists.

    4. Be clear
    Make sure your text ads read as clearly as possible and are easy to understand. You want the text ads to speak in a way that tells the user what you want them to do. Related to that idea, be sure to include a well-defined call to action. Impressions are great, but it’s even better if you get a click, which hopefully turns into a conversion. Converting customers is your ultimate goal so write your ad in such a way that will make the user want to engage.

    5. Consider all devices
    According to Google, more than 50% of search queries globally come via mobile and that trend could very well continue. You want to create a website and pages that are mobile friendly. A poor mobile experience could lead to not-so-friendly quality ad scores.

    RELATED: Check how mobile-friendly Google thinks your webpage is

    6. Optimize your text
    I talked a little bit earlier about creating text that is engaging. One way to do that, if it makes sense, is to use numbers or statistics in your headlines. Also, include in your text any competitive differentiators, promos, or urgency messaging if it fits into the product or service you’re advertising. For example, if you’re selling something on a limited basis or the price might increase later, the user might be more inclined to convert because the deal might not be around when he or she next visits your site. Users want to know how something is going to help them now, so focus on the benefits and how your product will help them rather than spending time on how great you are (or claim to be.)

    7. Check your work
    One simple, yet often forgotten task that could lead to audience disengagement is a misspelling. It could lower your ad text quality score because no one is clicking on your ad.

    8. Use ad extensions
    When applicable, utilize ad extensions. These are found below your text ad and show a little more information about your business. They also improve your text ad’s visibility and improve click through rates.

    9. Keyword usage
    When you get around to developing a keyword list, make sure they are relative to the text ad you just wrote. Let’s pretend you’re an optometrist selling eyeglasses. I don’t think you want users who are looking for “wine glasses.” That’s not relevant, right? By adding “wine glasses,” you will avoid a wasted impression, or worse, a click you have to pay for. Keyword quality scores rely on a lot of things, but the biggest are expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience. Optimizing your keywords will help improve this score.

    Now that you have your ad text and keywords ready to go, here are a few other key points.

    10. Be content rich
    Ad ranking isn’t just about great text ads and keywords. It’s also about how those keywords and text ads relate to the landing page you’re sending your audience to. Having a landing page or website that is rich in content and is mobile friendly is crucial. Remember: User experience and relevance is vital. Better text ads usually mean better text ad ranks, which tend to lead to cheaper costs per click.

    11. Be in it for the long term
    Running an effective paid search campaign is a continuing and holistic process. Constant optimizing and refining of campaigns are more likely to succeed. Think about the big picture and keep a long-term approach.

    John Griffith is manager of paid search operations at Essex Digital Platform.

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