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New Governors' Agendas 2011: John Kasich, Ohio

In January, new governors were inaugurated in 26 states. As the nation continues to deal with a slowly improving economy, these governors have their work cut out for them. Area Development's editor recently asked the new governors what businesses in their states could expect regarding resources, regulatory changes, and tax and financial incentives.

Editor's Note: This article is part of Area Development's Governors' Agendas series, which allows governors elected to office in 2011 to outline their business and economic development plans. View interviews with all new governors

What resources will your administration leverage in order to attract businesses to your state?
Kasich: Through the new JobsOhio partnership my administration will be forging new relationships and outreach to business in the state. As a public-private partnership, the state will strive to move at the speed of business, providing answers and incentives in timely fashion rather than [after] months of haggling. With business as a full partner the message will be direct and focused on generating investment, profit, and jobs for Ohio-based operations.

Which particular industry sectors would be well served by your state's resources?
Kasich:Through the work of Battelle and Cleveland State University, we know the key driver industries in this state and have been able to identify emerging opportunities as well. Manufacturing has been a core base activity of Ohio business and we will continue to support new investment and new product development to push that core to the next level. Through our aerospace, polymers, bioscience, and automotive partnerships, we anticipate expanded activity as the national economy improves.

How will the state continue to serve its existing industry?
Kasich: Ohio has a vast array of existing programs that provide technical, financial, and tax incentives that have been available to Ohio-based operations making strategic investments in the state. We expect those programs will continue to be available.

In today's economic environment, what is your administration's policy on financial incentives to business?
Kasich:State tax reform has had a positive impact on reducing the cost-of-doing business in the state. As we move forward we will continue to look for ways to minimize the costs and maximize the incentive for continued investment. The first step will be crafting a balanced biannual budget without tax increases.

Recognizing that Ohio has a large number of headquarters and large manufacturers already, we want to support their reinvestment and commitment to world-class production by supporting an expanded Job Retention Tax Credit. Given the state's tight budget, we recognize that it is important to seed our future growth.

Do you plan to undertake any specific educational initiatives to encourage businesses to locate and remain in your state?
Kasich: The administration has begun discussions between Ohio public universities and private businesses to locate satellite campuses closer to the job sites to build a skilled labor base. And recognizing that time is money the administration is proposing three-year college degrees to make more job candidates available in a shorter time.

Further, the administration is beginning dialogs with our large public research universities on how to accelerate research concepts into commercial ventures. Already, Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University, has announced a key hire of a vice president for technology commercialization.

Are there any changes to your state's tax and/or regulatory code that you are proposing in order to encourage business development?
Kasich: Lt. Governor Taylor is undertaking the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) to review all levels of government to evaluate the impact of agency rules on small business. CSI Ohio will hold state agencies accountable for promoting flexibility, balance, transparency, and consistency as rules and regulations impacting businesses are developed or renewed.

"This is common sense and it is encouraging to see the legislature support CSI Ohio and our process of cutting through the red tape and eliminating burdensome, costly, and duplicative rules and regulations," Taylor said. "This will help us revive Ohio's economy and improve our business community's ability to put their job-creating ideas into action."

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