A new legislative session means that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is releasing its Public Policy Priorities. We are going to make sure the Ohio legislature doesn’t stray from its main task of making Ohio a better place in which to do business.
We believe a competitive, modern economy should create an environment in which businesses can expand and create jobs free from government interference. When businesses are not stifled, they thrive, Ohio’s communities benefit and all Ohioans win.
The policy priorities, established by the chamber’s eight committees, lay out goals for the advocacy efforts the chamber will focus on when working with members of the Ohio House and Senate over the next two years.
Education and workforce
The chamber will advocate for a one-semester course in financial literacy as a requirement for high school graduation. We will also identify opportunities to partner with state or non-governmental organizations to provide Ohio youth and entry-level workers with the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Energy and environment
Because affordable energy prices are important to businesses, we will support a comprehensive energy policy for Ohio that strengthens our economic competitiveness, provides for reliable sources of energy and promotes cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation choices.
Ohio businesses want to offer health care coverage that is affordable and sustainable. Therefore, we will continue to educate lawmakers about the unintended consequences of government-imposed health care coverage mandates. Along those lines, we will monitor federal activity surrounding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and prepare to pursue state reforms in the small group market that enhance affordability of coverage.
Labor and human resources
We will protect employers against rising unemployment compensation taxes by addressing the long-term solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. Additionally, we will continue to stress the need to ultimately make Ohio a right-to-work state.
In order to safeguard our state’s constitution, we will advocate to require broader public support for constitutional amendments. It’s also important to preserve the First Amendment right of businesses to unrestricted political advocacy.
With many of our small businesses bogged down by excessive red tape, we will continue to support the work of Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative and will push to expand the scope of its responsibility.
Taxes and spending
By using our policy priorities as a guide during the crafting of our state’s two-year budget, we want to assure that Ohio’s tax structure remains fair. This means we will work with the legislature to make certain there is no tax shifting or expansion of the sales tax on services utilized primarily by businesses.
To ensure that Ohio’s workers’ compensation system runs efficiently and effectively, we will support requiring employees to report their alleged workplace injuries in a timely manner while making them more responsible for their care.
These are just a sampling of the many policy goals the chamber has for the 132nd General Assembly. To read our entire Public Policy Priorities, visit www.ohiochamber.com, and then click on “Issue Advocacy, Legislative Issues.”
Keith Lake is the Vice President Government Affairs at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio’s largest and most diverse statewide business advocacy group, has been a consistent voice for business since 1893.