The issues and policies aggressively pursued by the OBRT are member-driven, deriving directly from the expertise and experience of its CEO members. OBRT members represent the strongest, most successful businesses in every sector, every geographic location of Ohio’s economy – manufacturing, information technology, retail, health care, financial services, logistics, energy, and agribusiness. Their collective understanding of the challenges and barriers that Ohio businesses face makes the Roundtable uniquely capable of bringing profound, necessary change to Ohio’s business climate.
Workforce Development and Talent
The Ohio Business Roundtable is committed to restoring Ohio’s reputation for having a skilled and productive workforce. Ohio has a long, proud history of an industrious workforce, but in recent years, its skills have become outdated and misaligned as technologies have rapidly evolved. As a result, Ohio employers cannot fill current job openings, and economic development will inevitably suffer as a result.
Tax policy and rates are critical factors in economic development, and Ohio Business Roundtable believes economic development is enhanced when taxes are levied at low rates across a broad base, and when the tax code is used to incentivize capital investment. OBRT supports pro-business tax policies at both the state and local level.
Unemployment Compensation Reform
OBRT members believe the legislature should renew efforts to restore stable financing and make needed policy reforms to Ohio’s unemployment compensation system. OBRT applauds the DeWine Administration for their proposal to use one-time federal stimulus money to pay off the current loan. However, more reforms in the system are still necessary, and OBRT remains ready and willing to work with state policymakers to make the needed changes to restore the solvency of our system.
Economic Development Tools
The Business Roundtable supports aggressive efforts to sell Ohio, as embodied in the unique development agency, JobsOhio, and its partner agencies. A private nonprofit created in 2011, JobsOhio works to drive job creation and investment in communities across Ohio. OBRT opposes any attempts to weaken JobsOhio’s ability to facilitate the creation of new jobs and improve the business climate in Ohio.
Lean and Innovative Government
The Ohio Business Roundtable believes lean, efficient government is a strong signal Ohio can send to businesses about Ohio’s values and attitude. OBRT believes the state should coordinate data and resources across state government to improve the way Ohio tackles our most challenging problems. Furthermore, using technology to make state government more efficient will improve Ohio’s overall business climate.
The Ohio Business Roundtable believes Ohio is in dire need of a comprehensive energy policy that addresses all energy sources and provides stability and predictability for Ohio’s job creators. Currently, too many decisions are being made on an ad hoc basis without considering the views of the entire energy sector. In addition, we must take steps to increase transparency of the regulatory process at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).
OBRT strongly believes there is a need to expand broadband access to underserved areas of our state. This can be achieved through legislation that expands market-based, affordable broadband access in both rural and urban Ohio to enhance education and economic development. Until that connectivity is in place, rural and some urban populations are at a severe disadvantage relative to the rest of the state.
OBRT members oppose any attempt to roll back school academic and accountability standards. Consideration should also be given to supplemental instruction to help students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transportation and Infrastructure
OBRT members know that modern infrastructure is critical to Ohio’s competitiveness. The high volume of passenger vehicles and commercial freight traffic supports businesses, provides jobs, and ultimately drives Ohio’s economy. For these reasons, OBRT supports reasonable user fees to fund transportation infrastructure, while exploring alternative funding models that ensure all users of our roads pay their fair share.
Labor & Employment/Workers’ Compensation
OBRT’s first success as an organization was to secure reform of the state’s workers’ compensation system, referred to by former Governor George Voinovich as “the silent killer of jobs.” The systemic changes to the Bureau during that time have helped transform the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation from an albatross on Ohio’s economy into the professionally run, financially stable, economic attribute that it is today. Ohio’s economy is supported by its highly innovative, productive and industrious workforce. As such, OBRT will continue to promote workplace policies that enhance, not hinder, economic growth and job creation.
Lake Erie/Environmental Protections
The Ohio Business Roundtable believes that environmental regulations must provide businesses with clarity and consistency, are based on scientific consensus, and incorporate cost-benefit analysis as part of the policymaking process.
Civil Justice System
Ohio has made great strides over the past decade in efforts to reform our civil justice system. The Ohio Business Roundtable believes that in order to continue to innovate and grow jobs, it is imperative that businesses can count on a fair and rational justice system that does not expose them to unjust, unreasonable, or costly lawsuits. OBRT strongly opposes any effort to weaken Ohio as an attractive state for business investment.
OBRT is focused on promoting effective solutions to our health care challenges that will help control costs, expand access and improve quality of care. In order to do this, Ohio Business Roundtable believes we must empower consumers to make cost-effective decisions through access to timely and accurate information on the quality of their health care. In addition, OBRT stands opposed to insurance mandates and taxes that raise costs for employers and consumers. In addition, OBRT encourages employers to provide and encourage good health behaviors among employees, and reward employees for taking proactive steps to be in good health through workplace wellness programs.
*For more information about specific advocacy within each policy issue, please contact Michael McLean, Vice President of Policy, at (614) 469-1044.