Ohio needs an intellectual firepower behind business

Government decisions impact our lives and businesses in complicated ways. Often legislation is introduced, laws are passed and rules are written without fully realizing the unintended consequences. Even well-intentioned policies occasionally eliminate segments of business, which ultimately cause job losses, families to lose income and communities to suffer.
If policymakers had better information, some of this could be avoided. That’s exactly why the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation was created.
The Foundation is designed to provide the public with information on policy creation, be a trusted information resource for all businesses in Ohio, and provide non-partisan information to state policymakers and regulatory agencies.
The hope is that our studies, information and resources will help Ohio achieve three goals:

1. Make Ohio a great place to build a business and raise a family.

2. Protect, embrace and expand Ohio’s diverse business base.

3. Help policy makers make smart decisions.

First up
As a newly formed research foundation, we are starting with a project to capture the pulse of the business community’s economic outlook.
A quarterly survey has been developed to understand the current conditions and future projections of Ohio companies in regards to profits, workforce, capital expenditures and expenses. We will rate the data, track the progress and report results quarterly and annually. We’ve included a few issue-based questions to follow trends of the obstacles and opportunities over time.
On the docket
Future projects are in the works. We will partner with respected research firms, universities and think tanks, and in certain cases, conduct our research in-house. We have developed a lengthy list of potential projects, which staff and board members are vetting based on need, timeliness and viability. Potential topics for research studies include:

  • The impact of the opioid epidemic on business.
  • How neighboring states’ labor laws impact Ohio’s competitiveness.
  • How Ohio can best invest in the infrastructure needs of the future.
  • The best technology-based economic development strategy to make Ohio a leader in technology jobs and applications.

The Foundation is open to project submittals. We want to know what studies would benefit Ohio’s companies and if an educational resource gap exists for business. We want Ohioans to be informed on the policy and rule-making process. In addition, we are looking for partners to help complete studies and projects.
Our plan for 2017 is robust and aggressive. Being a startup, we have foundational blocks to set, a clear culture to establish and a need to forge relationships and networks. We are excited with the opportunities and challenges ahead.

We know that Ohio needs an intellectual firepower behind business and we plan to be that voice and resource.

Brian K. Hicks is the President of Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation. Brian is also the president and CEO of Hicks Partners LLC, a government affairs and economic development consulting firm with offices in Columbus and Washington, D.C.