Having been a small business owner for over 30 years, I know firsthand how vital the small business sector is to the health of our state. In my first term as your state representative, I made sure to focus on economic and workforce initiatives because they help both individuals and communities to thrive, and create a positive feedback loop that keeps jobs and businesses growing. In my second term, I am just as committed to supporting Ohio’s small businesses and their owners.
Out of the 131st General Assembly came a wealth of legislation that supports the small business sector in noteworthy ways. House Bill 3 decreased the filing fee by 21% for new small businesses, and the state budget bill enacted a total of approximately $949 million in tax reductions for businesses. Additionally, House Bill 390 allowed Ohio businesses to save $351 million through a provision that paid off unemployment compensation debt owed to the federal government. Looking back on the work we have done, I am even more motivated to advocate for this cause in the current general assembly as well.
As a cosponsor of House Bill 5, I was pleased to see its passage last week in the Ohio House. This piece of legislation defines a microbusiness as an independently owned and operated for-profit business entity that is located in Ohio and has fewer than 20 full-time employees. The need for House Bill 5 arose because the current definition of “small business” in state law includes entities with up to 400 workers. This definition does not take into account the widely differing resources between businesses and affects the process of seeking loans or other connections with the government.
House Bill 5 is important because it allows small businesses to function and compete on a more level playing ground. As we have seen, “small businesses” are not always small, at least compared to their counterparts with significantly fewer employees. By classifying a microbusiness as such, this bill ensures that these entities have the opportunity to flourish in Ohio with fewer barriers to success.
Ohio remains fertile ground for the creation of businesses. Secretary of State Jon Husted recently announced that 2016 was the seventh consecutive year of record new business filings and growth in Ohio: 105,009 filings, up by an impressive 30.8% from 2010. House Bill 5 is a great start to the 132nd General Assembly, clarifying terms and providing small businesses with the additional support they need. I am extremely proud of our burgeoning small business sector and look forward to all the work that will be accomplished to ensure its continued success.