Wednesday, June 13, 2012

St. Reps. Dovilla and Hagan Announce Passage of Legislation Focusing on Economic Development and Government Reform

COLUMBUS—In an effort to spur long-term economic development and streamline Ohio’s government structure, the Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation that, when enacted, will reform the Ohio Department of Development in order to continue revitalizing Ohio’s job creation efforts.

Senate Bill 314, companion legislation to House Bill 489 (Dovilla-Hagan), which the House passed in April, will complete the transition from the Ohio Department of Development to the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). The legislation will revitalize Ohio’s job creation efforts by providing essential services to JobsOhio—the state’s private, non-profit entity created through House Bill 1—including the administration and oversight of loans and tax credits that will further create and expand Ohio businesses.

“This legislation reaffirms our commitment to making Ohio a state that welcomes businesses, tourists, and above all, jobs,” said Representative Dovilla. “Creating an environment which encourages businesses to expand in our state and supports minority-owned business is critical as we seek to restore the promise of opportunity for all Ohioans to prosper.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Create a pilot program, TourismOhio, to provide a dedicated funding source for tourism marketing;

  • Improve access to capital for minority-owned businesses by increasing the amount of financing available; and

  • Reform the tax credit process to ensure businesses are not penalized by delays due to the meeting schedule of the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.

  • Additionally, the legislation creates within ODSA the Office of TourismOhio, which will be funded through a five-year pilot program that links funding for TourismOhio to the growth in sales tax revenues of tourism-related industries. The TourismOhio Advisory Board the bill creates will include industry experts to provide guidance and support efforts to promote Ohio tourism, on which visitors spend more than $36 billion annually in Ohio.

    “Tourism accounts for 439,000 jobs in our state and is clearly a sector that deserves more attention,” said Representative Hagan. “By passing this bill and showing our commitment to a more effective government structure, we are creating an environment where jobs and the tourism related industry flourish. This is a sound and promising investment for Ohioans. In 2011 we saw a substantial return on investment of $14 for every $1 the state invested. The 129th General Assembly is committed to job creation opportunities on every front. I am committed to seeking new and unique opportunities and ways for our economy to prosper.”

    Senate Bill 314 passed the House by a vote of 84-5 and, upon final Senate concurrence, will be sent to the governor for approval.