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Every Monday -- News from GCP

Minimum wage debate continues in Washington;
GCP members can voice their opinion

In response to President Obama’s proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, the United States Senate has begun to discuss the issue.

Although it is possible that the Democrat-controlled Senate will take action on the matter after Easter break, it is unlikely that the House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, will consider it any time soon.

Nevertheless, it is an issue that never completely fades away. Several states have acted this year to increase the minimum wage, and the issue is gaining attention from the electorate.

GCP Government Affairs Council begins discussion

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Government Affairs Council recently began a discussion about the minimum wage and learned that the business community has both supporters and opponents. Businesses supporting an increase cite the need to lift people out of poverty, thereby increasing their ability to spend more on goods and services and pay more in taxes, thus improving the overall economy.

Some economists state that minimum wage increases have historically not led to job losses, although that fact is disputed by others in the business community and economists. In response to the President’s proposal, the Congressional Budget Office reported that up to 500,000 jobs would be lost nationally. But they also estimate that 1 million people would be brought above the poverty level. Small businesses in particular may find it necessary to restrict hiring or even lay workers off if the rate goes to $10.10.

Enacted in 1940, the first federal minimum wage was set at 25 cents per hour, or $3.25 in 2012 dollars. It has steadily increased over the years, but the purchasing power generated by the current federal minimum wage is about the same as it was in the mid-1960s.

Alternatives to the minimum wage—such as an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit—are offered as a good solution. Nevertheless, the debate goes on.

Tell us what you think

GCP members are encouraged to let us know how they feel about this issue. By taking 10 minutes to participate in this survey, members can provide important insight, which will be relayed to the Government Affairs Council. Results will also be reported in a future edition of Every Monday.

Click here to take the survey

Click here to watch our video.

GCP hosts Congressman Jim Renacci

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Advocacy Department hosted Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) last week for a series of events and meetings with GCP members.

As part of the department’s long-running Morning Conversation series, Renacci spoke off-the-record with GCP members on issue areas important to them and relevant to his work on the House Ways & Means Committee.

Following Morning Conversation, the Congressman toured development projects that are utilizing federal programs such as New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits and the EB-5 program. Representatives from Cleveland Development Advisors, Cleveland International Fund, and MidTown Cleveland guided the tour.

Additionally, since the Committee has purview over aspects of the Affordable Care Act and health care, the morning concluded with a visit to University Hospitals Case Medical Center. (Photo: Congressman Renacci and Heidi Gartland, vice president, government and community relations, University Hospitals.)

The second half of the Congressman’s day focused on manufacturing and tax policy. In separate meetings with two Cleveland area manufacturers, an in-depth discussion of current tax policy and proposed reform generated a lively discussion.

Of interest to the current tax reform debate, was the Congressman’s support for a comprehensive review of options for reform, with Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-MI) proposal being the basis for that discussion.

While no definitive timetable for passage of reform has been set, it appears that the committee will take up the debate upon its return to Washington, D.C. and it will continue throughout this Congressional session.

CDA invests in second phase of Flats East Bank


Financing for the second phase of the Flats East Bank closed last week, including $4.5 million in financing from Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA), the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s real estate and business development finance affiliate.

This development follows the $275 million Phase 1, opened June 2013, and will complete the vision of a fully integrated sustainable waterfront district. The current plan calls for 240 new market-rate residential rental units and over 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and entertainment space. The project is targeting a summer 2015 opening.

CDA was also a lender in the first phase of the project. “CDA’s involvement in the Flats project dates back to 2006,” said CDA President Yvette Ittu. “We are thrilled to see the first phase complete and the second phase under way. We applaud the Wolstein Family for its vision, tenacity, and investment.”

Leading tech companies connect with IT talent


The Greater Cleveland Partnership, in collaboration with the Northeast Ohio Software Association (NEOSA) and the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education organized and hosted the “Linking IT Talent to Opportunity” event last week at the Middleburg Heights Community Center.

For three consecutive years, the event was successful in connecting recent IT graduates, college students, and professionals with some of the region's leading tech companies to discuss career paths and job opportunities.

As one of the key events of 2014 NEOSA Tech Week, “Linking IT Talent to Opportunity,” held April 16, had over 240 attendees, including more than 170 young professionals and students from 40 colleges, 51 representatives and recruiters from 24 companies, and other guests such as faculty members and career services administrators.

Companies exhibiting at this year event included:

GCP thanks its partner organizations and individuals who contributed to the event’s success. Also, a special thanks to the event location sponsor, the City of Middleburg Heights.

Middle-Market Center names new executive director

The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) has named Thomas A. Stewart, one of America’s leading business and management thinkers, as its new executive director. Stewart most recently served as chief marketing and knowledge officer for the global management consulting firm Booz & Company.

The NCMM is the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s strategic partner for GCP’s Middle-Market Initiative. The Center, a partnership of GE Capital and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, is the nation’s leading research institution dedicated to helping middle market companies be more competitive through impactful research, thoughtful advocacy, and educational programs.

Click to read more.

Northeast Ohio biomedical industry a $5.6B sector

Team NEO’s quarterly Cleveland Plus Economic Review reports that Northeast Ohio’s biomedical industry has surpassed pre-recession levels to become a $5.6 billion sector in 2014.

The sector grew 59 percent from 2000 to 2014 while other industries remained relatively flat. Click here to read the report.

Team NEO is part of the regional economic development system that GCP helped create and continues to support.