Ohio Economic Development Incentive Process Benefits from Private Sector Economic Development Organizations

Ohio companies benefit from regional and statewide private sector-led economic development organizations that support the request of companies seeking a site in Ohio to retain or grow jobs and make a capital investment. The JobsOhio Network of regional economic development groups, while limited in their ability to award and negotiate the millions of dollars available in local government economic development incentives, support companies in their request for available qualified sites and support incentive requests from JobsOhio—the state’s private sector economic development not-for-profit.  While the JobsOhio Network is not a substitute for competent economic development incentive consultants or counsel, they are an asset and the starting point for many projects in Ohio.  These regional JobsOhio Network organizations cover all 88 Ohio counties and include One Columbus, REDI Cincinnati, Dayton Development Coalition, Regional Growth Partnership, Ohio SE, and Team NEO.

The economic development incentive process impacts where a company locates, and, while Princeton Economics estimates companies gain $30B in economic development incentives, this process is about a lot more than tax incentives.

Project Definition. Companies whose lease is expiring, have expected job growth and capital needs their current facility cannot accommodate, are consolidating facilities or following a customer or market trends to a new region or merging should undertake a economic development incentive process.  Companies need to determine the number of employees, wages and benefit costs of these employees, workforce skills needed for these employees, capital expenses for a facility, utility, parking and other site needs. 

Market Research.  Market research is the first step for an economic development incentive project that targets regions that are growing economically, have a common industry cluster with the company, and provide a skilled workforce and competitive cost of doing business.  The goal of the market research is to target a small number of communities in which the company is capable of locating a facility.

Project Introduction.  Following the definition of the project and market research, the next step in the economic development incentive process is to develop a project letter or Request for Proposal (RFP) for a targeted group of regions seeking market information, recommended sites, and economic development incentive offers from regional economic development organizations, local and/or state government economic development leaders in a confidential process.

Land Use Entitlements. Any new site a company chooses to locate must be properly zoned for the intended use of the company and other land use entitlements such as annexation may also be required to gain essential public services such as water, sewer, and roads.  Zoning is a democratic process with substantial public input and a vote of approval by local government officials. Annexation is different in each state but is generally an administrative process if the property owners seek the annexation.

Economic Development Incentives. Local, state, and federal government tax credits, tax abatements, grants, and loans may all be provided in each of the fifty states as an incentive for companies to create jobs and provide capital investment.  Issues such as remote work need to be addressed to determine if many economic development incentives will be applicable.  Economic development incentives can support job creation and capital investment, redevelopment of historic structures, investments in distressed areas or Brownfield sites, provide funding needed infrastructure, workforce development training, or just a pile of cash.  

Understanding the economic development incentive process is a critical step for companies considering the creation or retention of jobs and making a capital investment. Please contact Dave Robinson at drobinson@montrosegroupllc.com if you are considering an economic development incentive project.