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GCP, COSE reiterate employers’ perspectives on state tax policies

The Greater Cleveland Partnership and its small business partner, COSE, recently submitted written testimony to the Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission to reiterate the perspective of small, mid-sized and large employers as it relates to tax policy in Ohio.

The testimony from GCP Senior Vice President of Advocacy Marty McGann highlights several key points made by GCP and COSE during the state operating budget process:
  • Seek greater efficiencies in state government to allow for personal income tax reductions versus shifting the tax burden from one group of businesses to another.
  • Permanently preserve the 100 percent tax exemption on the first $250,000 in business income.
  • Maintain or lower the current commercial activity tax (CAT) rate and maintain or increase the current CAT exemption level.
  • Be thoughtful about the implications of expanding the sales tax base and/or increasing the rate.
“We continue to share the vision of our state leaders to strengthen Ohio by providing for a positive economic development environment that creates opportunity for all,” said McGann. “Small business tax relief and greater government efficiency versus shifting taxes are smart approaches to get us there.”

The Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission was created in the recently passed state budget, HB 64. The commission is a bi-partisan group of state legislators charged with examining Ohio’s tax structure to determine any reforms that might be necessary in the next state budget cycle that will strengthen Ohio’s economic competitiveness.

Click here to read the full testimony.

GCP congratulates NASA Glenn on its 75th anniversary

NASA Glenn Research Center is celebrating its 75th anniversary starting this month.

Founded in 1941 as the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory, the facility was charged with improving the state of aircraft engines. Research on piston engines rapidly evolved to the emerging fields of jet engines and rocket propulsion. Since then, Glenn has continued to drive research, technology, and systems to advance aviation, enable exploration of the universe and improve life on Earth.

“The Greater Cleveland Partnership is proud to continue leading the advocacy efforts to maintain and build upon the viability of NASA in this region,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman.

“Lewis Field and Plum Brook Station, which comprise the Glenn Research Center, have added billions of dollars to our economy, attracted top talent to its workforce and continue to be a source of pride for our citizens.”

To commemorate this milestone, the center has created a 75th anniversary logo featuring an image of the center’s distinctive airplane hangar, a symbolic orbital trajectory, and the message “Our Past. Our Present. Your Future.”

“Throughout our history, Glenn has been leading aerospace development for the nation and industry. Almost every aircraft and spacecraft today contains Glenn technology,” said GCP Board member and Center Director Jim Free. “The anniversary logo is a fitting image to represent our 75 years of aeronautics and space accomplishments.”

The center also will host multiple events throughout its anniversary year, including two open houses. Glenn’s Lewis Field main campus will open to the public May 21 and 22, and Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, will hold its open house June 11 and 12.

Admission is free, and space-themed souvenirs and NASA merchandise will be available for purchase. More details will be published on the center’s website in the coming months.

The center’s world-class test facilities, large wind tunnels, research aircraft and more than 100 laboratories have positioned Glenn as the premier center for aerospace testing and technology maturation.

The upside of a “hub-less” Hopkins

A “hub-less” Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) has an upside for passengers.

This editorial from The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com observes that a positive result of the absence of a hub at CLE has been that “average airfares for those flying out of (CLE) dropped 20 percent in the second quarter of last year,” according to a recent U.S. Department of Transportation the report.

The editorial comments that “the average fare of $371 (it was $465 in the second quarter of 2014) reflected a far deeper drop than the national average, which went to $385 from $396. Cleveland's average air fare is now lower than airports in Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Detroit.

“The lower fares in Cleveland are a result of low-cost carriers, such as Frontier, Spirit and JetBlue, entering the breach left when United closed its hub, experts say.

“When it comes to ensuring the economic vitality of Northeast Ohio, a healthy and competitive Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is essential. Those working hard to attract new airlines and destinations should take a bow, then keep up the good work."

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Air Service Demand Task Force has been a key partner working with the City of Cleveland, the State of Ohio and other stakeholders to identify markets and carriers that will provide even more options for convenient and affordable air service for business and leisure travelers.

In this month’s WTAM interview on “Wills and Snyder,” GCP President and CEO Joe Roman talks about how CLE’s strong market will continue this trend of lower airfares.

Click to listen.

Business solutions for bottom-line impact: Become a GCP Corporate Partner

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is committed to creating solutions to support the needs and interests of businesses of all sizes. Based on feedback we’ve received from our mid-sized member companies, we have identified two common areas of interest:
  • Hiring, staffing and workplaces issues
  • Sales, marketing and customer relations
We're currently looking for Corporate Partners to help us build out solutions for our members in these two areas of focus. Solutions can range from access to information to bottom-line savings and educational programming.

If your company has expertise in either of these two areas, we want to hear from you. For details on the types of products, services and expertise we’re looking for, and to complete the application, click this link for more information.

If you have additional questions, please contact memberbenefits@gcpartnership.com.

Diversity Professionals forum postponed

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Diversity Professionals Group forum, “Mitigating Unconscious Bias: Tactical Tips for Personal and Organizational Growth”— scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26, at Baldwin-Wallace University—has been postponed.

The event is co-presented with the Cleveland Society for Human Resource Management (CSHRM). Information about a new date will be communicated as soon as possible.

Please contact Scott Harrington at 216.592.2213 or sharrington@gcpartnership.com, if you have any questions.

Middle-market perspectives: Are you reaping the benefits of digitization?

A solid majority of middle-market leaders say that digitization—the process of converting manual, paper-based, or offline business processes to online, networked, computer-supported processes—is very or extremely important relative to other business priorities.

New research by the National Center for the Middle Market has found that this is particularly true for companies with $100 million to $1 billion in annual revenues ,and those in the services, technology, and healthcare fields.

So how does your middle-market business compare with those companies that are reaping the benefits of digitization? Here are some key findings to think about:

The fastest-growing middle-market companies are digitally savvier than their peers. Companies experiencing rapid growth (10%+ annual revenue growth) are the most likely to consider digitization extremely important to their success. They enjoy a faster pace of digitization and achieve a greater ROI from their digitization efforts.

Digitization spending is moving from the back office to the front line. Middle-market businesses are allocating a significant 19 percent of digitization dollars to innovation and strategy development, which more directly affect a company’s future revenue streams and growth .Looking ahead, 42 percent of companies anticipate increasing or significantly increasing digitization spending on business analytics and strategy development.

Companies spending the most on digitization are experiencing a high ROI. The fastest-growing middle market firms and those with a rapid rate of digitization are earning a 37 percent return on their investment. Companies that spend the most on digitization are achieving a return of 39%. These bigger spenders tend to be the best-performing middle- market companies, perhaps, in part, because they are digitizing and the resulting operational efficiencies drive higher profits and ROIs.

To learn more about digitization in the middle market, and to see how your firm measures up, download "How Digital Are You?"

The National Center for the Middle Market, a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital, is a strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Initiative.

Investing in diversity to grow Ohio’s entrepreneurial economy

JumpStart is ramping up its focus on economic inclusion with the launch of a $10 million seed fund that will solely invest in women and minority-led tech startups based in Ohio.

This story on cnnmoney.com talks about the Focus Fund, “which will invest in about 20 companies in less than three years—ideally young companies with five employees or less. Each startup will get $500,000 in funding.”

It is “the largest seed fund of its kind to focus entirely on women and minority-led tech startups. The state of Ohio is providing half of the investment, while JumpStart will provide the other half.”

Said Leach: “We know there are great innovators who will bring their expertise, talents and relationships to advance Ohio’s entrepreneurial economy. “It is also our hope that Ohio will be better recognized as one of the most dynamic entrepreneurial states in the country.”

Click to read the story.

JumpStart is part of the regional economic development system that the Greater Cleveland Partnership helped to create and continues to support.

Port of Cleveland liner service now links Great Lakes with India


The Port of Cleveland‘s transcontinental liner service, the Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE), continues its upgrades to better serve clients and expand the markets it touches.

The newest addition to the service is the introduction of a streamlined connection for cargo to and from India, increasing the global reach of the CEE and elevating Cleveland’s standing in the global marketplace.

Operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group, the CEE provides the Great Lakes economy direct maritime access to global markets, with ships making the trip between Cleveland and Antwerp, Belgium at least twice monthly during the St. Lawrence Seaway shipping season.

The new Indian service will leverage the India – Cleveland Europe Express partnership between Spliethoff and Puyvast, a logistics and chartering firm that has a deep network of offices, agencies, stockyards, and infrastructure at all major Indian ports.

“By combining Spliethoff’s bi-monthly sailings between Europe and the Great Lakes with the Cleveland Europe Express and Puyvast’s India - Europe Express, we offer a unique trade-lane,” said Bart Peters, director of Spliethoff’s Atlantic Department. “This will be another innovation that helps position the Port of Cleveland as a true hub for global trade.”

The CEE has seen significant growth in only two years of operation, including a nearly 500 percent jump in international container volume in 2015 as compared with 2014.

“The Port of Cleveland expects the new connection with India to be a key factor in another year of growth in 2016,” said Dave Gutheil, Port VP of Maritime and Logistics. “It’s an additional strategic advantage our service can offer.”

Those interested in finding out more about using the Cleveland-Europe Express, the India – Great Lakes Express, or the Port’s general maritime services should contact Dave Gutheil, VP of Maritime & Logistics at David.Gutheil@portofcleveland.com or 216.377.1363.