GCP Offers Support for State Regulatory Reform Legislation

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) has been a long-time advocate for regulatory reform and continues to be a strong supporter of Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI). 

Our members also see value in Senate Bill 293 (SB 293), legislation that would require state agencies to review and reduce regulatory restrictions by 30% over the course of three years. On June 27, the GCP presented proponent testimony on the bill. The Ohio Senate passed SB 293 the same day.   

Two of the GCP's volunteer members serve on the CSI Small Business Advisory Council, a panel charged with helping state government achieve the right balance of regulations. The work of CSI is critical and our members strongly recommend it continue.

Regulations can take many forms and most employers generally recognize and understand the importance of enforcing state laws with succinct rules related to unique markets, industries, and structures. Our members’ interest in SB 293 and the logic behind the GCP’s support for the bill, however, is clear: regulatory restrictions should continually be evaluated and focus on consistency and predictability—especially for small and middle-market businesses that may struggle to understand and comply with tedious, demanding mandates.

Senate President Larry Obhof joined the GCP members recently to discuss how Ohio may improve the state regulatory environment for businesses. Click here to watch video on the topic.

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  • Next up: GCP PAC: The Region’s Political Action Committee
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  • GCP PAC: The Region’s Political Action Committee

    The Greater Cleveland Partnership Political Action Committee, or GCP PAC, is a non-partisan, unified voice for businesses of all sizes and industries in our region. 

    There are many ways our members can ensure their voice and the voice of the business community is heard throughout government.  Participation in GCP advocacy offerings like the D.C. Fly-In or Empowering Local Leadership Conference, COSE Day at the Capitol, and GCP Public Officials Reception are all unique opportunities to connect with elected leaders that shape public policies that directly impact the economic vitality of Northeast Ohio. 

    Yet, no offering may be more useful than having the ability to collectively pool our resources together to provide our members with the means for concerted action.  The dollars contributed through the GCP PAC are specifically used to provide support for state and local government leaders campaigning for election who share your interests.

    What has GCP advocacy done for your business of late?  Click here.

    Thank you to all volunteer leaders who contribute to the GCP PAC.  Will you choose to participate in the GCP PAC movement?

    Please consider making your contribution of $50, $100, $500, or $1,000 to GCP PAC prior to the Election Day on Tuesday, November 8, so we can continue to lead the conversation in the development of common sense economic policy and regulatory reform. 

    Please note individuals, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships and sole proprietorships can legally make contributions to a PAC. Contributions must include itemized allocations by partners in partnerships or members of a LLC. Ohio law prohibits other corporate political contributions. 

    Your participation in the GCP PAC is completely voluntary. Donations are not tax-deductible and will be used for political purposes. An individual may contribute up to $12,707.79 annually to an Ohio Political Action Committee. You may choose not to participate without fear of reprisal. You will not be favored or disadvantaged by reason of the amount of your contribution or decision not to contribute.

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  • Next up: GCP Small Business Leaders Named 2019 NSBA Board Members
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  • GCP Small Business Leaders Named 2019 NSBA Board Members

    Celebrating more than 80 years representing America’s small-business owners, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) is a staunchly non-partisan organization with members in every state and every industry in the nation.  NSBA is a strong partner of GCP/COSE, among other organizations, on public policy issues that are importance to the business community.

    Earlier this month, several GCP small business leaders traveled to Washington to participate in the NSBA Small Business Congress – an event in which leaders from across the country discuss, debate, and vote on NSBA’s federal policy priorities for the next two years.

    The group that attended the event ranked the following five issues priorities for NSBA during the 116th Congress:

    • Health Care Costs
    • Tax Reform 2.0
    • Trained Workforce
    • Deficit Reduction, Entitlement Reform
    • Cybersecurity, Financial Protection

    Prior to the event, the NSBA Board of Trustees met, discussing its intention to name the following GCP members to the NSBA Board next year:

    • Board Chair – Sharon Toerek, Toerek Law
    • Vice Chair – Advocacy – Mike Stanek, Hunt Imaging, LLC
    • Vice Chair – Communications – Kevin Johnson, Glenwood Management
    • Board Member – Michael Canty, Alloy Bellows & Precision Welding, Inc.

    Please join us in thanking these Northeast Ohio small business leaders; GCP appreciates what you and so many of our members do on a daily basis to contribute to a vibrant economy.

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  • Next up: GCP Supports County Health and Human Services Levy, Bi-partisan Congressional Redistricting Measure
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  • GCP Supports County Health and Human Services Levy, Bi-partisan Congressional Redistricting Measure

    Members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) endorsed Cuyahoga County’s two-year renewal of the Health and Human Services (HHS) levy and supported a separate statewide issue aiming to revise the way Ohio draws U.S. Congressional district maps. 

    The Cuyahoga County HHS renewal levy, Issue 9, will appear on the primary election ballot in May.  The two-year renewal of the 3.9 mill levy is the smaller of the two County HHS levies.  It generated approximately $104 million in 2016 – 2017 and costs a homeowner $135.10 on a $100,000 home.  Combined with the 4.8 mill eight-year levy – renewed in 2016 and set to expire in 2024 – the County collects slightly over $230 million to fund critical social services.

    “The Health and Human Services levy renewal will not raise taxes and it plays an important role in ensuring resources are available to fund crucial services for children, the elderly, and families in need,” said Debbie Read, Managing Partner/CEO of Thompson Hine, GCP Board Member, and Chair of the GCP Government Affairs Council.  “The dollars collected provide a significant social safety net to help reduce higher costs to taxpayers for untreated needs.” 

    GCP has long supported both HHS levies.  GCP leadership will continue to actively work with Cuyahoga County to determine the need and future structure of the HHS levy when it is up for renewal in 2020.

    The GCP Board also offered formal support for statewide Issue 1, which would create a more

    bi-partisan, public process for drawing U.S. Congressional districts.  Significant minority party support would be required for the legislature to approve a new map.  Issue 1 offers rules that would limit the extent to which counties, municipal corporations, and townships can be split between districts; the City of Cleveland would remain whole within its district.  

    The plan cleared the legislature, with overwhelming support from both political parties, prior to the deadline for proposed Constitutional amendments initiated by the Ohio General Assembly to be filed with the Secretary of State.  Due to the passage of the legislature’s resolution, Issue 1 will also appear on the ballot on May 8. 

     “It’s no secret the practice of gerrymandering has existed to favor the political party in the majority,” said Joe Roman, President/CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.  “As a non-partisan organization, we’re encouraged Republicans and Democrats came together on this issue, resulting in what our members believe will be a more transparent redistricting process.”

    In 2015, GCP members backed the “Fair Districts for Ohio” campaign, a coalition organized to reform our system of drawing state legislative districts.  The current Congressional redistricting initiative necessitates a simple majority of votes in May to become part of the Ohio Constitution.  The proposal would take effect for the next redistricting process in 2021, following the 2020 census.

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  • Next up: GCP Hosts Annual COSE Day at the Capitol
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  • GCP Hosts Annual COSE Day at the Capitol

    The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) hosted its annual COSE Day at the Capitol event this week in Columbus. More than 20 Council of Small Enterprises (COSE) member companies traveled to the Ohio Statehouse to meet with various legislators and elected officials. “COSE Day” provides members the opportunity to advocate on behalf of Northeast Ohio’s small business community and provide valuable input to Ohio’s senators and representatives about the impact of policies.

    The day kicked off with a breakfast reception with public officials, which served as an informal forum for COSE members to meet legislators. Following an introductory welcome, the Small Business Advocate of the Year Award presentations commenced. This year’s awardees included Senator Matt Huffman and Senator Vernon Sykes, for their work on a bi-partisan, public process for drawing U.S. Congressional districts, Senator Matt Dolan, for his contribution to the Data Protection Act, and Senator Rob McColley, due to his commitment to the review of occupational licensing boards and curbing predatory claims against businesses for technical violations.

    The morning continued with attendees hearing from speakers such as House Assistant Majority Whip Laura Lanese, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, Dan McCarthy, Legislative Director at the Office of the Governor, Jeff McClain, Tax Commissioner at the Ohio Department of Taxation, and Lydia Mihalik, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. Members spent the afternoon at the Ohio Statehouse, attending an Ohio Senate Session and touring the building. Throughout the day, attendees gave critical feedback to legislators about a range of issues, including transportation, taxes and regulations, and workforce development. 

    To view the press release about Small Business Advocate of the Year Awards, click here. Photos of the event are below.




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  • Next up: Gertsburg Law Firm Expands Practice with Franchise Law Attorney Chris Zirke
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  • Gertsburg Law Firm Expands Practice with Franchise Law Attorney Chris Zirke


    The Gertsburg Law Firm is pleased to welcome attorney Chris Zirke to the firm.  Mr. Zirke’s practice is focused on franchise law, counseling and advising both franchisors and franchisees throughout their respective business cycles. 

    He adds to the current practice areas serviced by the firm, including business transactions, litigation, real estate law, probate and estate planning, and employment law, among others.  As a former business owner and franchisee, Chris guides franchisees through franchise selection, FDD review, pre-operations, operations and post-operation issues.  In addition, Chris’ practice focuses on making sure his clients understand their supply and indirect spend cubes.  Chris educates his clients on understanding their supplier agreements and emphasizes that the most effective supplier agreements are also used as business tools to maximize efficiency and drive profit.

    Chris comes to the firm from Corporate United, Inc., one of nation’s largest private sector group purchasing organizations comprised of over 400 Fortune 1000 companies.  As the company’s Vice President and General Counsel, Chris oversaw all legal operations of Corporate United and drove efficiencies with the sales, account management, sourcing and human resource teams.  Prior to joining Corporate United, Chris led all RFx events for KeyBank’s Corporate Real Estate department and negotiated third-party sourcing contracts across multiple lines of business for the bank. In 2004, Chris formed Blue Falcon Franchise Group, LLC and served as the CEO and Managing Member for 10 years.  Under his leadership, the company owned and operated multiple Jimmy John’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Soccer Shots franchises.

    Outside the practice of law, Chris is an avid Cleveland sports and Seinfeld fan.  He is a member of the board of directors for Options for Family & Youth and serves on the leadership team at Hope Community Church in Olmsted Falls.  Chris lives in Berea with his wife Heather, daughter Aurelia, and son Kip. He loves to travel with his family as much as possible.  In 2014, Chris and Heather received the Distinguished Visitor Award by the Aruba Tourism Authority.

    Learn more about Mr. Zirke and the Gertsburg Law Firm at www.gertsburglaw.com. Contact him at by phone at (440) 571-7777 or by email at cz@gertsburglaw.com.

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