by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor
You may have read in the news that "Chief Executive" magazine recently released its 2013 rankings of the best and worst states for business. Ohio made the largest jump, improving 13 spots in its annual poll of CEOs. The CEO comments included in the article focused on Ohio's turnaround and efforts to make the state more business friendly and to solve business problems. Among the efforts Governor Kasich has initiated to do this is the Common Sense Initiative (CSI), which he created in 2011 to reduce and streamline Ohio's business regulations. Governor Kasich appointed me to lead CSI the same day I was sworn into office.
CSI has been designed to operate along two tracks. The first track is focused on the administrative rules adopted by state agencies. Since January 1, 2012, all administrative rules that impact business must be submitted to the CSI office for review along with an analysis to demonstrate that the regulation justifies the impact to business. In 2012, Ohio's rule filings were 44 percent below the state's historical average, largely due to the fact that the CSI reviews have forced agencies to pause and ensure that they have met the CSI criteria and will be able to justify any rules they propose. The CSI Office has also worked closely with agencies to minimize business impacts, resulting in rule packages with better justifications and often changes to the rules themselves.
In addition to the rule review process, CSI operates along a second track which allows it to work directly with businesses to resolve issues that are affecting them. In one recent example, CSI was able to assist a small restaurant that was looking to expand but struggling with the state permitting requirements. With CSI's help, the restaurant was able to add 40 new seats and four employees. Other examples of CSI's successes include assistance to an asphalt company as it fought duplicative and expensive emissions testing; helping a small business avoid a six-month delay in receiving a $65,000 refund for overpaid sales taxes; and helping local pharmacies navigate the Medicaid system to open new locations in underserved areas.
For more information on Ohio's Common Sense Initiative, visit www.governor.ohio.gov/CSI or call (614) 466-3396.