NORED’s Areas of Concern In 2011 for Ohio’s Economic Development Future
Guest column contributed by Kay E. Reiter
President of NORED and Executive Director of the Sandusky County Economic Development Corp.
The Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association (NORED) was formed late in 1998 to draw together economic development practitioners and partners spanning 12 counties to increase job opportunities and improve the quality of life throughout the region.
As the only organization of its kind in northwest Ohio, NORED has adopted positions regarding many public policy Areas of Concern that the organization believes will assist the region and the state in becoming more viable and attractive for business development:
NORED Stands Ready to Help. NORED commits to provide members to help reach a mutually beneficial conclusion.
- Common Sense Initiative. NORED supports Governor Kasich’s executive order establishing the “Common Sense Initiative” to eliminate agency rules and regulations on small business in Ohio.
- Employ Technology More Widely and Wisely. Technology provides the opportunity to conduct business in a much more efficient manner. Video conferences and webcasts are readily available today, and such use by Ohio could expedite economic development projects.
- Integrated Transportation System. Northwest Ohio possesses every critical means of transportation: highways, trains, air, water, and pipelines. Integrating these transportation systems is critical to Ohio’s continued success. NORED supports the Transportation Legislative Agenda of TMACOG.
- Ohio Business Development Coalition & Ohio Sales Partnership. NORED appreciates the efforts that the OBDC and the OSP have made to brand the State as a place to build a business. Their efforts need to be retained and expanded.
- Incumbent Workers Training Program. NORED believes significantly more emphasis needs to be placed on state assistance to improve the job skills of incumbent workers so current employees can gain the skills necessary for the companies to remain competitive.
- Workforce Training. NORED recognizes that there are many workforce training programs throughout state government which need to be evaluated so that effective programs are adequately funded and less effective programs can be eliminated.
- Prevailing Wages. NORED supports the elimination of the Ohio’s prevailing wage law’s application on the private sector aspects of an economic development project.
- Tax Incentive Programs. NORED supports the current practice of local government control over incentives such as real estate tax exemptions and municipal income tax programs.
- State Incentive Programs. The state must begin to provide truly customized proposals for each specific project. Not every project needs or should be given every available incentive.
- Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Compensation continues to be a major concern of Ohio companies. Steps must be taken to make Workers’ Comp more cost-effective and streamlined.
- Third Frontier. Ohio’s Third Frontier assists in the funding of entrepreneurial and start-up companies but the state should eliminate a requirement that businesses agree to an exit strategy to sell the business in three to five years.
- Ohio Turnpike. The Turnpike runs through seven counties within NORED’s region from Williams to Erie. The way revenues from any sale or lease of the Turnpike will be used need to be fully explored, with particularly attention to how the funds would benefit counties already directly affected by the Turnpike. The Ohio Turnpike Commission should be responsible for major maintenance and replacement of all Turnpike and all grade separations.