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Every Monday -- News from GCP

GCP opposes Cleveland-only $15 minimum wage;
How would your company be impacted?

On May 26, the Greater Cleveland Partnership announced firm opposition to the proposal for a Cleveland-only $15 minimum wage. The GCP Board of Directors voted to oppose the proposal at its quarterly meeting.

If enacted, an 85 percent minimum wage increase—the most aggressive wage hike in the country—would lead to the loss of businesses and send a strong signal to investors and employers who are considering expansions in our town. The combined impact could destroy Cleveland’s momentum.

While GCP does not philosophically object to raising the minimum wage, our membership has articulated grave concerns with the comparative size of Cleveland’s increase, the speedy timeline for implementation, and the focus on the city of Cleveland versus the state of Ohio as a whole.

Several other cities across the country have wage increases on the books, but those minimum wage hikes will be phased in over time and over the course of years.

The Cleveland proposal, however, would give the city the highest generally applied minimum wage in the nation in a matter of months, going into effect on January 1, 2017, and Cleveland would be the only city in the state with a separate wage from the rest of Ohioans. Ohio’s minimum wage is currently set at $8.10, and raises to Ohio’s minimum wage are tied to inflation.

Clearly, the proposal in Cleveland would put the city at a deep disadvantage when compared with state and regional neighbors.

Get involved. Speak out.

The GCP will continue to work with city leaders, civic organizations and other stakeholders to build a coalition to oppose this specific minimum wage increase. If your company would be affected by a $15 minimum wage and would like to become a more active participant in the coalition’s campaign against the proposal, the link below will provide you with the opportunity to have your unique story told.

Your input is greatly appreciated and it will assist our team’s efforts as we continue to protect the needs of our member organizations.

If you would like to be an active participant in our efforts on this issue, please share your contact information and your stories with us, and you will be contacted in the near future.

Plan to pay off federal debt will cut employers’ tax bill

In this week’s “GCP Insight” video, Greater Cleveland Partnership Vice President of Advocacy Sante Ghetti discusses legislation passed by the Ohio Assembly—and expected to be signed into law by Governor Kasich—that will provide unemployment tax relief to the state’s employers.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership/COSE is supporting efforts to pay Ohio’s debt and applauds the Administration and leadership in the General Assembly for their commitment to resolving this issue.

The sooner the debt is paid, the sooner relief can be afforded to Ohio’s employers, saving them an estimated $405M that can be reinvested in the state’s economy.

Click to watch the video.

The ”GCP Insight” video series, hosted by Lesic and Camper Vice President Steve Luttner, focuses on topics of interest to the Greater Cleveland business community.

CSI Ohio helps businesses navigate Ohio’s regulatory process

CSI Ohio may sound like a television drama, but for businesses who interact with CSI—also known as the Common Sense Initiative—it has implemented a process to review rules and regulations that adversely impact the business community and improve or eliminate them.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor has led Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative since its inception in 2011. We recently had an opportunity to sit down and talk to her about CSI’s work.

Click here to view the video.

Most business owners understand regulations are a necessity, but the degree to which businesses are regulated must be continually evaluated.

CSI helps drive that work. Its mission is to create a regulatory framework that promotes economic development, is transparent and responsive to regulated businesses, makes compliance as easy as possible, and provides predictability for businesses.

In the coming weeks, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and COSE, in concert with CSI, will be unveiling a state regulatory “toolkit.” The goal is to connect resources with companies to ensure regulations are written in plain language and supports the reduction of costs associated with understanding and complying with them.

In the coming weeks, we’ll provide more information about the regulatory “toolkit.”

Click here for more information on CSI

Bill passed, making Ohio NMTC program more accessible
for mixed-use development projects

Before recessing for the summer, the General Assembly passed HB 182—an update to current law for the creation of Joint Economic Development Districts.

The bill also included a much-needed change to the Ohio New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program that would remove the real estate restriction from current law, making the tax credit more accessible to the mixed-use development projects that are common place in Northeast Ohio and other urban areas across the state.

The change also brings the program more in line with the federal New Market Tax Credit program and does not expand the state program in any way.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership has long advocated for the removal of this restriction from current law and is grateful to the legislative leaders in the House and the Senate that helped make this change possible in HB 182. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.

“Many of the transformational, public/private development projects underway in Northeast Ohio will include a mixed use of manufacturing, research and development, retail/commercial, office and residential space that will attract ongoing investment in some of the most distressed areas in the region,” said Yvette Ittu, president of Cleveland Development Advisors, the GCP’s real estate and business development finance affiliate, in written testimony before the Senate Ways and Means committee.

“A key part of business attraction for these developments (including the Health Tech and Opportunity corridors) will be start-up and second-stage companies, as well as civic organizations that prefer to lease and allow a landlord to manage their space needs so they can focus their capital on what they do best—innovation and business growth.”

To learn more about this change, click to read Ittu’s full testimony.

Local hiring ban legislation signed into law; GCP to continue supporting efforts that promote job creation

Last week, Governor Kasich signed HB 180 into law, which bans local governments from requiring local hiring on publicly funded construction projects.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership has long been opposed to this legislation, along with the City of Cleveland and other key partners.

“We are very disappointed with the passage of this legislation,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. “Our members remain committed to attracting a diverse and inclusive workforce in order to boost our region’s economic growth.

“Despite this setback, we are hopeful that we can work with state leaders on initiatives that will develop the type of workforce and job opportunities that will allow our communities to thrive.”

The GCP will stay close to local government leaders to assess the local impact of this legislation.

Other GCP Board meeting highlights

New Board member appointed

The Greater Cleveland Partnership Board of Directors approved the appointment of Janet Kavandi, Ph.D., director, NASA-Glenn Research Center, as a nonvoting member.

She is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities required in accomplishing the missions assigned to the center.

Glenn is engaged in research, technology, and systems development in support of the nation’s space propulsion, space power, space communications, aeronautical propulsion, microgravity sciences, and materials development programs.

Prior to accepting the director’s position, Dr. Kavandi served as Glenn’s deputy director.

Click to read her full bio.

Date announced for GCP Annual Meeting

Please mark your calendar and save the date for the 2016 Greater Cleveland Partnership Annual Meeting of Members on Wednesday, September 7 at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.
  • Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Program: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Click for more information.

Thanks to our Presenting Sponsor:

Northeast Ohio diversity pacesetters to be honored
at GCP Annual Meeting

These winners of the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s 2015 Best-in-Class awards will be honored at the GCP Annual Meeting on September 7. Congratulations to the honorees:

Board Diversity
  • Eaton (large corporation)
  • Cleveland Foundation (small to mid-size business/nonprofit)
Senior Management Diversity
  • Enterprise (large corporation)
  • Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (government/large nonprofit)
  • United Way of Greater Cleveland (small to mid-size business/nonprofit)
Workforce Diversity
  • Enterprise (large corporation)
  • Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (government/large nonprofit)
  • Ozanne Construction (small to mid-size business/nonprofit)
Supplier Diversity
  • Gilbane Building Co. (large corporation)
  • NASA Glenn Research Center (government/large nonprofit)
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (small to mid-size business/nonprofit)

Welcome, new GCP members

We’re pleased to welcome these companies and organizations that recently joined the ranks of Greater Cleveland Partnership Investors. Click the links below to learn more about them.

How you can help CMSD students raise career awareness

Recognizing that career readiness starts early, an innovative program—True2U—a collaboration between the Cleveland Foundation’s youth development program, My Com, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Greater Cleveland Partnership and Neighborhood Leadership Institute—provides CMSD eighth-graders with support to explore their purpose, identify their strengths and set personal goals for success.

This career exploration and mentoring program focuses on raising career awareness for CMSD students on the cusp of entering high school.

Business professionals are invited to volunteer as mentors for the program for the 2016-2017 school year. Click here to download an application. Once your application is completed, email it to Angela Finding at

Mentors will be trained on a structured curriculum and work in teams of two with small groups of students once a month and will be supported by a CMSD teacher once a month.

True2U experiences from the 2015-2016 school year

Are you considering becoming a True2U volunteer?

Port’s Lakefront Nature Preserve offers unique access
to wildlife, waterfront

The Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, operated by the Port of Cleveland, offers visitors tranquil natural settings and breathtaking views of Cleveland and Lake Erie. Located just minutes from downtown, the 88-acre site has welcomed over 80,000 visitors since opening to the public in 2012.

Originally created as a confined disposal facility, to hold sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga riverbed, the Lakefront Nature Preserve now provides the public opportunities for meaningful interaction with our waterfronts and wildlife.

The Preserve boasts multiple habitats that are home to animals as diverse as coyotes, minks, foxes, deer, and many more. It also has been named an Important Bird Area by Audubon Ohio, with more than 175 species of birds recorded on site in 2015 alone.

With over 2.5 miles of walking trails and a scenic overlook plaza on the eastern edge with benches and public art, the Lakefront Nature Preserve offers visitors multiple ways to engage the flora, fauna, and spectacular views on site.

The Preserve is another key part of the Port of Cleveland’s strategic commitment to being green and sustainable and doing its part to connect Clevelanders to the water. The site is free and open to the public during daylight hours.

To plan your visit, click here.