The Post, 10/26

As I have addressed the problems facing small businesses in the past, I mentioned a regulatory bill called the Common Sense Initiative, but I would like to elaborate on just how important this bill is to improving Ohio's business climate.

In many cases, getting businesses the permits they need from the state has been a cumbersome process that takes longer than in other states--and in some cases, the regulations are applied inconsistently. In addition, Ohio has often gone above and beyond the requirements placed upon businesses by the federal government, requiring more at the state level and hindering us in attracting more jobs to our state. This could not continue, and so we did something to address it early in this General Assembly.

Through the Common Sense Initiative, we are helping small businesses across the state by reducing and eliminating burdensome, costly, and duplicative rules that hurt jobs and raise overhead costs. We felt that it was necessary to reexamine our regulations as a means of reviving Ohio's ailing economy.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2, established the Common Sense Initiative Office. It helps to consolidate certain functions of state agencies and is paid for with already existing revenue. The mission of the CSI Office is to hold state agencies accountable for the rules they implement, weighing the benefit of the rules against the adverse impacts they could have on Ohio businesses.

Visiting with small business owners on a very regular basis, I often hear about the struggles they are confronted with--especially in a down economy. Regulation by government is always one of those hindrances, but it does not have to be. Rather, government should be a business partner, helping them to grow and be successful.

Eliminating needless regulations can assist businesses by allowing staff to focus their efforts on business growth and serving customers, rather than spending their time and money trying to remain in compliance.

Make no mistake, some regulations make sense and work well, but they must be put in place with a common-sense approach, and that is what the Common Sense Initiative accomplishes. Although changes like this might seem minor in relation to all that businesses do, these are important steps in providing relief to the employees and owners of thousands of small businesses across our state. It is my ultimate hope that, over time, relieving businesses of these sometimes unnecessary burdens will free them to do what they do best: create jobs.


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