Stay Informed on News and Policy

2016

Federal leaders support Great Lakes agenda

Congress recently adjourned for the year. In one of its final acts, the Senate passed legislative provisions widely known as the Water Resources Development Act of 2016—a bill strongly supported by the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition.

President Obama signed the legislation this past Friday.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership was a co-founding member of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, a group of about 40 chambers from across the Midwest that jointly lobby Congress on key priority areas, including transportation infrastructure, border crossings, and water.

The Coalition worked with members from across the Great Lakes states to support provisions related to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund allocation to the Great Lakes Navigation System and reauthorization of $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Read more.

Two GCP priorities sent to Governor for signature; work remains


In the waning days and hours of a lame-duck session, the Ohio General Assembly took action on two crucial Greater Cleveland Partnership priority issues, but work remains. 

Legislation passed that includes provisions aimed at prohibiting Cleveland and other political subdivisions from establishing minimum wage rates that are different from the rate required by state law. 

Separately, it is clear that Ohio’s current unemployment system must be re-structured for it to be viable in future generations. Earlier this year, the GCP supported and helped secure legislation that allowed the state to pay federal debt a year ahead of schedule, saving Ohio job creators millions of dollars in 2017. 

However, reforms still need to be implemented that allow the unemployment fund to achieve a path toward solvency. Read more.

GCP urges appropriate dredging of Cuyahoga River

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) recently provided testimony on SB 333, the water quality mid-biennium review bill currently moving through the legislature.

The bill continues efforts by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen policies and regulations that will protect the quality of Lake Erie and other key water channels throughout the state, including strengthening requirements for disposal and safe use of dredged materials from federal navigation channels and connected maritime port facilities.

The GCP long has been an advocate of preserving and enhancing the quality of the Great Lakes. In addition to being a founding member of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition the GCP works closely with the Ohio EPA and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, who also favor SB 333 to support timely and consistent dredging along the Cuyahoga River. Read more.

Employers welcome delay of Department of Labor overtime rule

On November 22, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against the Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule that was set to go into effect December 1. It would have doubled the current threshold under which employees must be paid overtime.

This means the implementation deadline will not be enforced and employers do not need to comply by December 1. Read more.

Cast your vote for Cleveland's progress


A "YES" vote on Issue32 proposal would approve a 0.5 percent City of Cleveland income tax increase providing funds to our city to enhance services, and grow and develop our neighborhoods.

It also will lessen the impact of other revenue cuts recently imposed on Cleveland. Read more.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership also is urging a “YES” vote on Issue 108, a four-year renewal of the 15-mill operating levy that supports the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) with 1 mill set aside for partnering with high-quality charter schools.

Levy funds will provide four more years of financial support for The Cleveland Plan, Mayor Frank Jackson's blueprint for positively transforming the delivery and impact of education for Cleveland’s K-12 students. Read more.

Legislation important to the Great Lakes passed by U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly passed its massive Water Resources Development Act, a marine infrastructure bill with many provisions impacting the Great Lakes. The legislation was approved by a vote of 399-25.

It included an amendment by Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH) reauthorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—a key priority of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition of which the Greater Cleveland Partnership is a member. The Initiative allocates funding to combat challenges to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The coalition also pushed for successful passage of a floor amendment by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), making permanent a temporary set-aside of Army Corps of Engineers Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending for the Great Lakes. Read more.

GCP Board member appointed to medical marijuana advisory committee

Governor John Kasich has appointed Michael Stanek, vice president/CFO of Hunt Imaging in Berea and owner of Cleveland Cycle Tours, to a new panel that is being formed—the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.

Stanek also serves as a GCP Board member and as COSE Board chair.

The assignment is to represent employers’ views as regulatory proceedings on medical marijuana take place in Ohio. Read more.

Special election after November likely on minimum wage

Cleveland part-time workers’ measure withdrawn

A vote is not likely to take place in November on a Cleveland-only minimum wage increase that would phase in a $15 minimum wage—starting with $12 an hour in January—while the rest of the state remains at $8.10.

The measure is, however, expected to appear on a future ballot on a to-be-determined date after November.

A separate Cleveland-only part-time workers’ initiative that was in line to appear on the November ballot has been withdrawn by petitioners. Cleveland City Council is expected to pass legislation Monday afternoon granting the request and repealing the proposal. Read more.

Joe Roman on WTAM

Get the details from GCP President and CEO Joe Roman on why the organization is supporting two upcoming ballot issues: An increase in the City of Cleveland’s income tax—which has not been raised in almost 30 years and—and the four-year renewal of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s 15-mill operating levy.

The conversation with “Wills and Snyder” co-host Bill Wills also touches on the GCP’s opposition to a Cleveland-only minimum wage increase and a Cleveland-only part-time workers’ initiative. Both would hinder job creation and business growth in the city. Click to listen.

GCP/COSE urge long-term reforms to make unemployment compensation fund solvent

Greater Cleveland Partnership Board member Mike Stanek (above photo), who also chairs the COSE Board, provided testimony last week in Columbus before the Unemployment Compensation Reform Joint Committee regarding challenges related to unemployment on behalf of impacted GCP/COSE member businesses.

Testimony by Stanek, who is also chief financial officer of Hunt Imaging, and owner, Cleveland Cycle Tours, included comments about the need for change.

“Improvements to the system should ensure the unemployed receive the support needed to re-enter the workforce and also ensure that an unexpected burden on businesses does not happen again due to a future downturn in the economy or recession.

"Our members continue to advocate for long-term reforms that allow the unemployment fund to achieve solvency." Click to read his full testimony.

Amended Cleveland-only minimum wage proposal is still a bad deal

A national organization—interested in advancing its agenda, regardless of the cost that the City of Cleveland and Cleveland residents would incur—has announced that it has finalized language for a Cleveland-only minimum wage ballot measure.

As the public learns more about the Service Employees International Union’s misguided approach and why its minimum wage proposal is a bad deal for Clevelanders, the union amended its original proposal that was sent to Cleveland City Council and rejected by an overwhelming vote.

The new version, which will still only apply to Cleveland, calls for the city’s minimum wage to increase to $12 in the first year, with $1-per-hour annual increases thereafter, until it reaches $15. At that point, the minimum wage would be tied to the cost of living.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership continues to oppose this effort because it puts Cleveland on an unlevel playing field with the rest of the state. Read more.

City Council rejects Cleveland-only minimum wage hike; voters may still decide

Last week, Cleveland City Council voted overwhelmingly—by a vote of 16 to 1—in opposition to the most aggressive minimum wage increase in the country.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine even released an opinion more than a month ago stating that municipalities cannot legally set their own minimum wage.

However, Cleveland’s charter still could provide the initiative’s supporters the opportunity to place the issue—or an amended version—on a future ballot to be decided by the voters. Read more.

Take action to prepare your company for medical marijuana legalization

The Ohio legislature and Governor Kasich pre-empted a campaign to place the legalization of medicinal marijuana on the ballot by approving legislation a couple months ago that technically will—in September—make Ohio the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.

The good news for employers is specific protections advocated for by the Greater Cleveland Partnership/COSE were included in the legislation that passed.

In addition, the Ohio State Bar Association has made several recommendations to employers about how to ensure that your human resources policy clearly states your position on the use of medical marijuana. Read more.

Responding to public transportation funding cuts

In this week's "GCP Insight" video, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese talks about current and future budget challenges RTA is facing and what is being done to find a solution.

As an immediate action, the RTA Board approved a two-step 25 cents fare hike. Additionally, RTA is facing an $18 budget million cut due to lower sales tax revenue. Click to watch.

GCP says “no” to Cleveland-only wage hike

Several weeks ago, members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership—the most comprehensive grouping of small, middle-market, and large businesses in the state—announced firm opposition to the proposal for a Cleveland-only, $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Click to read our blog
about our opposition to the proposal and how you can get involved in this issue.

Spurring investment in urban neighborhoods

Congressman Pat Tiberi talks with GCP Senior Vice President of Advocacy Marty McGann about Cleveland’s success in utilizing the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program to help spur investment in economically challenged urban neighborhoods.

The Congressman, a lead supporter of the NMTC program, says he’ll continue working to provide long-term certainty by making the program permanent. Click to watch the video.

Fixing Ohio's unemployment tax system

How your company can help

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) applauds recent legislative activity aimed at removing the burden of Ohio’s unemployment debt to the federal government from our employers.

However, we continue to seek reforms for employers that will bring long-term balance and stability to the state unemployment compensation fund. Your input is needed so we can properly convey the impact our unemployment system has on your operations.

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

GCP-opposes Cleveland-only minimum wage increase

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.

While we do 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.

Get involved: The GCP will continue to work with city leaders, civic organizations and other stakeholders to build a coalition to oppose this increase. Click here to learn how you can become an active participant in our efforts on this issue. Read more.

Unemployment tax relief on the horizon for employers

Several years ago, Ohio’s unemployment rate increased and the state’s unemployment fund was ill-prepared to cover the costs. The federal government subsequently provided Ohio with a loan to continue paying jobless benefits.

With the exception of interest, employers were, and still are, solely responsible for paying the balance of the debt incurred. If no action is taken, employers’ unemployment tax bills will continue to incrementally rise through 2017 until the debt is paid.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership/COSE has been working methodically with its members, policymakers, and partners towards a solution to this important issue. And, an encouraging proposal is expected to be introduced and passed in the state legislature this week that would pay Ohio’s debt to the federal government. Read more.

Preserving tax credits will help spur investment in catalytic projects

Greater Cleveland Partnership's 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. Click to read the 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 state efforts are supporting minority business growth

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, Jeffrey Johnson, chief of the Minority Business Development Division at Ohio’s Development Services Agency, talks with GCP Vice President of Advocacy Alesha Washington about the state’s outreach activities to support the growth of minority-owned businesses.

Click to watch.

Activity accelerates to legalize medical marijuana

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) Senior Vice President of Advocacy Marty McGann discusses the acceleration of activity around efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio.

Two groups are moving forward to try to get a medical marijuana proposal on the November ballot.

Meanwhile, leaders in the Ohio House of Representatives last week introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana and create a Marijuana Control Commission. Click to watch the video.

Efforts aim at helping Ohio expand its role in the film industry

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, State Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-48) discusses the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit program with Greater Cleveland Partnership Vice President of Government Advocacy Alesha Washington.

Watch the video to learn about proposed changes to the program to make Ohio more competitive in this industry.

Enhancing inclusion through County legislation: Why it matters

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is continuing advocacy efforts on Cuyahoga County’s inclusion legislation.

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, Commission on Economic Inclusion Executive Director Brian Hall discusses the legislation and how it relates to broader efforts around community benefit agreements with “Insight” host Steve Luttner, vice president of Lesic and Camper. Click to watch.

Ohio chambers speak out on medical marijuana legislation concerns


The Ohio Metro Chambers Coalition provided testimony last week before the Ohio House Medical Marijuana Task Force about business community concerns and potential issues for employers if medical marijuana is legalized.

The coalition includes the chambers of commerce in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown, and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, collectively representing more than 40,000 employers.

Click to read the testimony presented by Coalition Chair Phil Parker, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

He also provided task force members with language that should be included in any legislation, ballot initiative, or proposal to protect employers. Click to read the provisions.

The importance of strengthening the education continuum

In this week's  “GCP Insight” interview, Greater Cleveland Partnership Senior Director of Advocacy Alesha Washington talks with Ohio House Minority Leader State Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-39) about the value and importance of education.

The discussion includes the impact that education has on the lives of young people starting with early childhood through post-secondary studies. Click to watch.

GCP comments support County efforts to boost inclusion on construction projects

The Greater Cleveland Partnership, through the Commission on Economic Inclusion, recently provided public comment on Cuyahoga County’s proposed legislation to increase opportunities for small and minority-owned firms to do more work with the County.

The legislation was introduced by County Executive Armond Budish on February 9 and is a response to the most recent economic disparity study conducted by the County. The study found significant under-utilization of minority and female-owned firms for County construction projects.

Four pieces of legislation were introduced. The County Administration also introduced a resolution, passed by County Council last week, that would make the County an endorser of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Community Benefit Agreements on major construction projects.

Click to read the public comment.

Speaking out to protect our Great Lake

Greater Cleveland Partnership Senior Vice President of Advocacy Marty McGann discusses the importance of dredging the Cuyahoga River on a regular basis.

He also comments on why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ position to dump the sediment into Lake Erie is bad for businesses, water quality and other environmental factors. Click to watch the video.

GCP seeks Ohio Congressional Delegation support for minority business assistance funding

With the five-year federal funding of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and its centers around the country including Cleveland ending this year, the Greater Cleveland Partnership is urging members of the Ohio Congressional Delegation to support the proposal for renewal funding through FY 2021.

The letter from GCP President and CEO Joe Roman follows up on a visit in 2014 by representatives from the GCP and the MBDA Business Center Cleveland to the offices of the Delegation where they discussed the services, successes, and value of the Center for the state of Ohio.

In its first five years of operation, the Cleveland Center helped Ohio MBEs obtain over $101 million in contracts and $21 million in capital awards and was responsible for creating 844 jobs. Click to read the letter.

How you can help support the Health and Human Services levy

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is urging passage of the Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services Levy, which is Issue 23 on the March 15th county-wide ballot.

The 4.8 mill levy – which is not a tax increase—is a crucial source of funding in Cuyahoga County for children, the elderly and families in need or in crises.

Opportunities to support the Health and Human Services Levy include: serving as a volunteer; requesting a yard sign; donating to the campaign; and voting YES on Issue 23 on the March 15th ballot. Read more.

Why GCP has a Political Action Committee and the power of your involvement

Primary election season is in full swing, Iowa and New Hampshire have cast their ballots, and Ohioans will march to the polls on March 15th to have their say. And, don’t forget, Tuesday, February 16th is the deadline to register to vote in Ohio's primary election.

Individually, you may choose to support candidates through your contributions and your vote. While the right to vote and your perspective on the issues are crucial, many still believe their voice is not heard throughout the process.

Click here to learn about the role the Greater Cleveland Partnership Political Action Committee (GCP PAC) plays in amplifying the voice of business.

Learn more about key projects recommended for state funding

In this week’s “GCP Insight” video, Alesha Washington, the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s vice president of government advocacy, discusses why some of the projects that the GCP is recommending for funding in the state’s 2016-17 capital bill were chosen. 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.

GCP reiterates position on harmful local hiring legislation

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) continues to be opposed to state legislation that would prohibit local residency hiring requirements for public construction contracts.

Separate bills – HB 180 and SB 152 – have passed their respective chambers and are now being heard in the opposite House and Senate committees. SB 152 is scheduled for a hearing in the House State Government Committee this week. Ultimately, the House and the Senate need to agree on a single bill that can be sent to the Governor to sign into law. Read more.

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.

Click to read the testimony
.

GCP supports renewal of Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services Levy

Levy funds crucial services; is not a tax increase

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) announced today that it is urging passage of a levy renewal to support health and human services in Cuyahoga County.

The 4.8 mill levy—which is not a tax increase—is on the March 15, 2016 county-wide ballot. The levy is a crucial source of funding in Cuyahoga County for children, the elderly and families in need or in crises. Read more.