Throughout this legislative session, the Ohio House has been working hard to promote job creation, business growth and economic recovery. In recent months, Ohio has experienced a dramatic influx of industry and jobs. In January of this year, the Buckeye state gained 25,000 jobs, and in February, we led the nation in jobs gained with an uptick of more than 28,000. With more and more businesses relocating within our borders, these trends are poised to continue as we move forward in 2012.
To ensure that these relocating companies can make a smooth transition, they need access to information concerning available spaces in which to locate their operations. In this spirit, the House passed House Bill 436 at the end of March. This legislation creates the SiteOhio Certification Program, a revenue-neutral program that helps businesses to find available certified commercial, manufacturing and industrial properties in Ohio.
SiteOhio will be contained within the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD), and its overall purpose will be similar to the “Job-Ready Site Program.” This program is a current initiative that will end when its grant money expires in late April. Therefore, it is important to bridge the gap with a new and innovative program.
Providing this service to expanding or relocating companies makes Ohio an even more attractive place to do business. The program will feature an in-depth portfolio of available spaces posted on the ODOD website. Without convenient access to this information, it would be easy for companies to miss out on potential business sites. In addition, SiteOhio gives us a leg up on many states that do not offer similar services.
I would also like to emphasize the fact that SiteOhio does not create another expense that must be covered with taxpayer money. Instead, businesses will pay a fee to use the program’s services, taking tax dollars out of the equation. I am confident that SiteOhio will prove to be an invaluable asset to relocating businesses, providing further encouragement to open up shop within our borders.
House Bill 436 was passed out of the House with a unanimous vote. Legislators from both sides of the aisle agree that this program is a useful addition to ODOD and will promote greater economic growth in the state. Simply put, SiteOhio is just one more way that we can demonstrate that Ohio is truly “open for business.”