Stay Informed on News and Policy

Every Monday -- News from GCP

Preserving tax credits will help spur investment
in catalytic projects

Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman recently provided testimony before the Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission on the importance of essential development tools like the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit and New Market Tax Credit.

Both tax credits have been instrumental in much of the revitalization of Cleveland's urban core. According to Roman, these programs provide "significant economic value to local communities."

The 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission is charged with taking a long-term view of Ohio's tax policy in order to provide recommended changes for the next state operating budget. During the last state budget cycle, the GCP and other community advocates thwarted efforts to suspend the Historic Preservation Tax Credit and convert it into a grant program.

Likewise, the GCP has long advocated for necessary changes to the New Market Tax Credit to make it more effective for development projects in Northeast Ohio.

Click to read the full testimony
.

Above image:
Rendering of a new St. Martin de Porres High School. Ohio New Market Tax Credits, provided by Cleveland Development Advisors, the GCP’s real estate and business development finance affiliate, are helping support the capital campaign to construct a new school building. The $17.9 million first phase will construct a 43,100 square-foot wing of the building.

How you can support the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Since everyone cannot testify in support of the credit, you can sign this petition to show your support for the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit to let the General Assembly in Columbus know you value this historic tax credit program and recognize the significant impact it is having in Ohio.

Click to sign the petition.

Secret Service issues warning of DDOS cyber attack

The U.S. Secret Service is making companies aware of recently sent emails threatening Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks. Here’s more information from the communication:

“A DDOS attack prevents legitimate users from accessing a company’s website by flooding it with huge amounts of data from multiple computers distributed across the internet.

“In one such ongoing campaign, the group threatens the victim with a DDOS attack that will commence on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, unless a five Bitcoin ransom is paid ($2,000 at current Bitcoin market rates), with the ransom demand threatened to escalate during the duration of this campaign.

“It is likely this group and others are inspired by news reports last week that a group called Armada Collective raised $100,000 based on email threats alone, while not performing a single DDOS.”

The communication also states that: “Organizations are discouraged from paying extortion demands. Paying ransoms:
  • Does not guarantee an organization will not be targeted;
  • Emboldens the adversary to target other organizations, or retarget the same organization, with additional extortion demands; and,
  • Creates a lucrative environment for other criminals to engage in similar activity.
"In all cases of extortion, to include DDOS extortion threats, businesses should immediately contact the local office of an appropriate law enforcement organization."

Secret Service contact information:

The contact information for your local Secret Service field office or Electronic Crimes Task Force is available at:

County inclusion legislation benefits local businesses
and the economy

Last week, Cuyahoga County Council passed a comprehensive package of legislation that will increase opportunities for small, minority and women-owned firms to do more work with the County.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and the Commission on Economic Inclusion (COEI), a program of the GCP, have been advocating in support of this legislation since early February. Now passed, the legislation makes the County one of the newest endorsers of the Memorandum of Understanding. It joins the COEI, City of Cleveland and many other community partners working on community benefit agreements on major development projects as well as creating an inclusive pipeline of talent for construction jobs.

The legislation creates set-asides on County contracts and bids for small businesses, aspirational MBE participation goals on contracts, performance bond waivers on projects under $250,000, and a business economic inclusion program.

An added amendment to the legislation also creates a diversity and inclusion advisory committee that will provide insight and guidance to the County on the implementation of this work. The GCP, through the COEI, is a named member of this committee. In the coming weeks, the County will be working on policies that will guide the implementation of these programs.

“County Executive Armond Budish and County Council are among a wide and diverse group in Greater Cleveland who understand that when we invest in our local community by encouraging such opportunities for employment, it yields dividends that include a stronger local economy and increased local tax generation,” says COEI Co-chairs Dan Walsh and Eddie Taylor.

The GCP and the COEI will continue to work closely with the County to ensure the success and continued improvement of this work.

Click here for a high-level overview of the legislation.

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.

Strong revenue growth in U.S. middle market; Ohio results even more positive

For the first quarter of 2016, revenue growth among U.S. middle-market companies is up and employment growth remains stable, according to new research by the National Center for the Middle Market.

The NCMM’s Middle Market Indicator’s survey of 1000 CEOs, CFOs, and other C-suite executives report reports that this growth represents the end and possible reversal of the downward trajectory in 2015 growth rates. Key insights include:

Following a year of fluctuations, revenue growth appears to be stabilizing at a strong but sustainable level.

Employment growth rates remain consistent. Around four in 10 firms across all middle-market revenue segments continue to say employment has increased over the past 12 months.

Confidence rebounds across the board. For Q1 2016, confidence returned to the higher levels seen in mid 2015. Almost three-quarters have a positive perspective of the national situation, and more than eight in 10 report confidence in their economies closest to home.

Click to read more.

Ohio’s middle-market revenue, employment growth
outpace national rate

Meanwhile, revenue and employment growth of Ohio’s middle-market has outpaced the national rate.

Ohio companies reported revenue growth of close to 11 percent, while the national average growth rate was 6.3 percent.

In addition, Ohio companies’ employment growth over the past year climbed to 6.4 percent, compared to the national growth rate of 3.6 percent. Both are significant increases from end-of-year rates in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“This promising trend is encouraging for both our local and state economies,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership Board member Bernie Moreno, who chairs the GCP’s Middle-Market Committee. “Just as with the national economy, a healthy middle market means that job creation in our region and across the state is moving in the right direction.”

Click for details.

The National Center for the Middle Market, a partnership of The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, SunTrust Banks, Inc., Grant Thornton LLP and Cisco Systems, is a strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Initiative.

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 afinding@gcpartnership.com.

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.

Share your expertise at the 2016 Small Business Convention

Are you an expert in your industry?

You’re invited to share your knowledge, ideas and experience with small business professionals at COSE’s 2016 Small Business Convention (SBC) Oct. 13-14 at Public Auditorium and Conference Center in downtown Cleveland.

The SBC is the premier event for small business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders of the Midwest. You will be presenting at a 60-minute workshop with the goal of helping small business owners learn how to improve their business strategies.

To submit your proposal, click here to access the submission platform.

Practical tools to increase employee engagement


Northeast Ohio business leaders will come together for a for a half-day event on Wednesday, May 18 at Case Western Reserve University to learn how high-performing leaders and organizations are creating exceptional employee engagement.

This event, hosted by BVU, will provide perspective and tools to increase your employee engagement. According to Gallup, upwards of 70 percent of employees in our workforce are not engaged (i.e. doing just enough to get by). This has a major impact on culture, productivity and customer service.

National and local leaders from Unilever, Cleveland Clinic, Fathom and The Sherwin-Williams Company, who have demonstrated excellence with engagement programs for their employees, will describe their initiatives and the takeaways from each.

Attendees will be presented with tools they can use immediately in their work through a facilitated workshop.

Greater Cleveland Partnership members will receive a 25 percent discount off the registration fee by using the code PURPOSE when registering. Click for more information.

New cranes, warehouse position Port of Cleveland to handle cargo increase


The Port of Cleveland recently took two major steps in its ongoing strategic initiative to improve service and efficiency on its docks.

Last week, the Port added a pair of new Liebherr mobile harbor cranes and began pouring concrete for a new warehouse dedicated to housing various cargoes from the Cleveland Europe Express (CEE), the Port’s intercontinental liner service.

Together, these investments represent nearly $8 million in infrastructure improvements on the Port’s docks.

The LHM 280 cranes are fully commissioned and now available for use at the Port’s facilities. The cranes each can lift upwards of 80 tons—40 percent more than the Port’s previous cranes—and are highly fuel-efficient.

Also last week, contractors poured over 600 yards of concrete for the new warehouse on Dock 22 South.

When finished in June, the 21,000 square-foot structure will increase and streamline the Port’s container operations. This will allow the Port to keep pace with the growth of the CEE, which experienced a 500 percent surge in container volume in 2015 alone.

The cost for the cranes and warehouse were paid primarily through a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant awarded through NOACA from federal funds administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and a forgivable Logistics and Distribution Stimulus Loan through the Ohio Development Services Agency.

“With our new cranes in place and our warehouse on its way to opening in June, the Port will increase our strategic advantages in speed, efficiency, and customer service as compared to large coastal ports,” said Dave Gutheil, Port vice president of maritime & logistics.

“We are grateful to our partners at NOACA and the State of Ohio for their support to help make these strategic investments.”

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.