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Ohio’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is essential
to economic development

The Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA) and several metro chambers from across the state have joined in opposition to proposed changes to the Historic Preservation Tax Credit that was unveiled in the Senate version of the state operating budget late last week.

The proposed change would have suspended the tax credit program for 2016 and 2017 and converted it into a grant program in 2018.

“This tax credit is a critical tool in advancing redevelopment projects throughout the City of Cleveland,“ said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. “The proposed changes would have a devastating effect on the current and future development momentum in our region.”

The GCP and CDA, the GCP’s real estate and business development finance affiliate, sent a letter urging Senate members to reject the proposed changes to the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program.

Ohio metro chambers speak out

The GCP also worked with other metro chambers of commerce across the state to draft a joint sign-on letter expressing opposition to the proposed changes.

“The economic impact of the historic preservation tax credit has been proven and well-documented. It creates millions of spending for capital investment, new and permanent jobs as a part of the projects, and economic and civic vitality for downtown centers and neighborhoods.” Click to read the full letter.

The next iteration of the state budget bill will be released this week. The GCP will continue to advocate for the removal of this harmful provision.

GCP disappointed with removal of public transit funding
from state budget proposal

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is disappointed with actions in the Ohio House and Senate to remove the Governor’s proposed $1 million increase in the state operating budget for public transit funding and with the actions of the Senate to eliminate the House proposed Joint Taskforce on Transportation Funding.

The task force was designed to address the long-term funding challenges for public infrastructure and transit projects in the state.

“Access to a robust and well-functioning public transportation system is a critical factor in boosting the competitiveness of our region,” says GCP Senior Vice President of Advocacy Marty McGann.

“It is unfortunate that the General Assembly did not seek to maintain this modest increase for a public transportation system that is in dire need of support and a long-term solution for funding sustainability.”

The state share for public transit is currently less than 3 percent. A study released earlier this year by the Ohio Department of Transportation found that funding is needed to increase the state share of public transit to 10 percent by 2025 to meet future demand.

“While this budget process was not a vehicle for change, we hope to continue to work with our public officials to address our public infrastructure and transportation needs,” says McGann.

Construction diversity update: progress and next steps

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Construction Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Strategic Leadership Discussion held a critical planning session to advance the core strategies first outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding that established diversity and inclusion goals for Greater Cleveland/Northeast Ohio construction projects.

The discussion, facilitated by Dr. Timothy Ewing, principal, BreakThrough Dynamics International, LLC, was framed around three general areas:
  • Looking back: Accomplishments/ successes
  • Where do we go from here? Opportunities for growth?
  • Building our future: Measurable next steps
Action item: Scorecard to track progress

A scorecard for tracking action items will be developed to ensure a continued focus on meeting the long-term goal of supporting project owners’ efforts to have a more inclusive workforce and contracting strategy.

The CDI initiative convenes a diverse group of stakeholders that includes minority/majority contractors, developers, assistance groups, bonding agents, owners and financial institutions as needed to increase the use of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Female Business Enterprises (FBEs) firms on major projects. Click to learn more about CDI.

Middle-market perspectives: How to maximize your travel budget

Getting the most return on a travel budget is critical to a middle market company's success. Controlling costs and making wise investments can improve your bottom line and help develop sustainable relationships with clients and stakeholders.

Chuck Leddy, a National Center for the Middle Market contributor and a freelance reporter, notes that the need for business travel will probably never disappear because personal relationships and face-to-face communication are highly important. But before sending a representative, decision makers should ask two basic questions:

Does the situation require in-person communication? Have a process to evaluate whether traveling is better than using other communication channels.

Are there other options to achieve the meeting's goal without spending dollars on travel? Spending on travel should be the last resort. To get around this, middle-market companies should invest in alternative channels to communicate with stakeholders.

Click to read more.

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.

Port of Cleveland’s docks enjoy biggest May in over a decade

On the strength of its Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE) liner service, the Port of Cleveland just experienced another banner month.

With over 80,000 tons of cargo passing through its docks in May alone, the Port boasted its highest volume at this time in the shipping season since 2004.

Overall, international vessels calls on the Port are up 36 percent this year, and the Port continues to market the service and its strategic advantages to new users. “The CEE is really starting to show dividends, and our focus is now on educating local, regional, and Midwestern businesses on its benefits, ” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman.

Friedman stressed that executives and logistics staff at all Ohio companies trading with Europe should take a hard look at the CEE, or risk inferior service through congested east coast ports.

“We provide advantages in speed, efficiency, reliability, and customer service,” he said. “It’s time for Ohio firms to go with the home team and move their cargo with the CEE.”

The growth in activity is tied to the continuing uptick in international cargo serviced by the Port—which has increased 45 percent since this time just a year ago. It’s no surprise, as the CEE provides the Great Lakes and Midwest region with its only direct, waterborne route to Europe and intercontinental maritime commerce.

Another promising sign for the Port is the sharp growth it is experiencing in containerized shipping.

“We’re up more than 200 percent in container volume from a year ago,” said Dave Gutheil, Port vice president of maritime and logistics. “Last year, the Cleveland-Europe Express carried a lot of break bulk cargo. We’re excited that we have both kept that business this year while really starting to accelerate our container volume as well.”

Those interested in finding out more about using the Cleveland-Europe Express or the Port’s maritime services should contact Dave Gutheil, vice president of maritime & logistics at David.Gutheil@portofcleveland.com or 216.377.1363.