The Ohio Tax Conference assembled in Columbus this past week. While it may appear as a mundane gathering to many, taxes are a critically important topic that warrants dialogue and debate by tax professionals, elected leaders, public administrators and businesses.
Much like school and healthcare systems, taxes impact everyone and we probably all have an opinion about how they should or should not be applied. Tax rates and policies can often impact which businesses select your state or community over time. While tax structure is rarely the only reason a business chooses to operate or grow in a community, it is usually on the list of important variables. Tax policy can also reflect what your state or community values most, and which industries or business functions it believes are most important to the health of the area. Do your tax rates and policies favor entrepreneurs, manufacturing or other industries?
As an economic developer, there are common questions that come to mind about taxes. Does the tax and how it is applied allow us to effectively compete? Is it applied equitably? Is policy flexible so that if the tax isn’t applied equitably, it can be mitigated? Another important question is emerging, as demographic changes created by baby boomer retirement and other workforce issues affect company location decisions: Does the tax system attract talented people to live in the state or community?
A perfect system of taxation does not exist for all business models. Tough compromises and decisions have to be made by political leaders, and they should be informed by business leaders, economic development officials and others. Taxes are necessary to build the infrastructure and community services used by people and companies to facilitate commerce and increase the quality of life. We appreciate the leaders who deal with these issues everyday and the many firms that help us interpret and understand these policies for our clients.
One Columbus Update
- Our thanks to the many of you who joined us for the One Columbus Investor Update last Thursday. The discussion focused on the Columbus Region’s place in the global economy and we released Columbus Global Connect, a plan for foreign trade and investment developed in partnership with the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
- Congratulations and thank you to six companies that announced expansions in our region last week — Aspen Energy, Benchmark Education, J&R Schugel Trucking, Laserflex, Precision Tower Products and Vantage Point Logistics. Together, the expansions represent $13 million in capital investment and 199 new jobs.