Blog Posts For The Week Of April 11, 2015 Through April 17, 2015

Release: Cleveland lawmaker wants “OhioSounds” Incentive To Spur Economic Growth In Music Industry
By Gongwer Staff
Posted: April, 17 2015 12:33 PM

COLUMBUS— State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced a proposal to promote music industry growth in Ohio. The proposed Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, or "OhioSounds," would provide incentives for music production, studio construction and recording within the state. Smith submitted the proposal for consideration in the state budget.

“OhioSounds would solidify the state’s commitment to our musical legacy and help encourage further creative endeavors from Ohio musicians while driving economic growth in a competitive industry and making Ohio a destination for musicians and producers,” said Rep. Smith. “This will not only inspire the next generation of The Black Keys or Bootsy Collins, but will provide a substantial economic return for communities across the state.”

Current data lists music industry revenues at nearly $7 billion annually. Rep. Smith wants to see some of that investment come to Ohio.

Rep. Smith’s proposal would provide tax credits for 25 percent of the related sound recording production costs for music projects created in Ohio. It would also refund 25 percent of music studio construction and recording infrastructure costs. To qualify for OhioSounds, production costs must exceed $5,000 per project, with a maximum incentive set at $50,000. If OhioSounds becomes law, the total amount of initial incentives would be capped at $3 million.

“We have the ability to attract talent not only from Ohio, but across the globe to create music, pioneer new technologies and contribute to our local economies. It’s a win-win,” said Smith. “We have the opportunity for people to be exposed to and fall in love with more Ohio talent. I think its a solid gold opportunity— maybe even platinum.”

Smith’s proposal models a similar tax incentive program in Louisiana, which allows current residents to access credits for music production within the state without an upper cap limit. The Ohio program differs in that the credit is not limited to Ohio residents. However, with an upper limit of $50,000, Smith believes the credit is sustainable.

"Ohio’s history for musical talent and creativity has deep roots,” said Rep. Smith. “This proposal will help seed Buckeye creativity and spur innovation across the state. I am excited to announce this during Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Week."

Rep. Smith says music industry growth could have a big impact in the Buckeye State and points to Richard Florida, an American urban studies theorist, who discusses the growth potential—technologically and economically—for the music industry in the coming years.

In his 2005 best seller The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida writes, “Music is now being recognized as a fruit-fly industry – as an early indicator of new technologies, new business models and the economy in general. Music is a highly competitive business – a hyper competitive market in miniature.”

Sen. Frank LaRose Column: Keeping Government Accountable: How RuleWatchOhio.gov is Generating National Attention
By Gongwer Staff
Posted: April, 17 2015 12:31 PM

Much like death and taxes, the presence of government rules and regulations can seem like a permanent fixture in our lives. Rules and regulations govern the cars we drive, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Whether we are teachers or engineers, barbers or physical therapists, we operate within a legal framework that is constantly changing.

Some of these rules are necessary to make government work efficiently and effectively for everyone. Other rules create layers of red tape that needlessly slow the engine of economic growth in Ohio. Small businesses focused on their bottom line are less likely to expand and create jobs if they have to divert resources toward meeting burdensome requirements.

Fortunately, you can now directly influence the rules and regulations that impact your life here in Ohio. In 2012 I was serving as the chairman of JCARR, Ohio's rule oversight committee, when I had the idea of crowd-sourcing the task of constraining the growth of government regulations. The concept was simple: hard-working Ohioans know better than bureaucrats how regulations impact their businesses, so we should listen to them. From that simple idea RuleWatchOhio.gov was born. This easy to use website was created quickly and inexpensively due to the excellent work of the JCARR staff and Ohio's Legislative Information Systems team.

RuleWatch Ohio is a website launched recently that has already gained national recognition for the transparency it infuses into the administrative rulemaking process. This month, the National Conference of State Legislatures ranked the site as 3rd on their list of the country’s “Top 15 Website Ideas Worth Stealing.”

 

RuleWatch Ohio allows the public to track all of Ohio’s 15,000 rules from more than 110 state agencies and boards. After registering your email on http://www.RuleWatchOhio.gov, you can choose to track any number of Ohio’s individual rules and receive an email update when there is any activity on the rule. You can also choose to track rules that specifically relate to issues that affect your life, from Medicaid and public pension benefits to law enforcement and K-12 education. There is no limit to the number of rules you track, and you can opt out of the service at any time.

If you have a specific comment or concern about a rule, you can contact the state agency that is proposing the rule or the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). JCARR is a legislative committee that ensures that state agencies do not make rules that exceed their legal authority. As a member and past chairman of this committee, I have experienced firsthand the value of public input to help us decide whether or not to recommend that a rule be invalidated.

The website we created was immediately embraced by citizens and industry groups throughout the state, earning acclaim as a user-friendly tool that increases transparency and public engagement. Because of its success, I drafted Senate Bill 3 last year to make RuleWatchOhio.gov a permanent part of state law. This bipartisan piece of legislation was signed into law last year by Governor Kasich.

In Ohio, our first priority is putting folks back to work. To do that, we must vigilantly monitor the burden that government places on businesses that create jobs. Our goal is to promote a sleeker, smarter government that protects Ohioans with an adequate regulatory system without stifling innovation and growth. This balance is not always easy to find, but we cannot succeed without your input. By registering with RuleWatchOhio.go and voicing your opinions about the rules that affect your lives, you equip your elected officials to work more effectively on your behalf.

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