Economy

Business news

School desks
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Farmers want the state to change the way their land is valued after their property taxes skyrocketed over the past few years. But that issue is pitting farmers against school districts.

The formula used to value farmland is raising property taxes by as much as 300 to 400%.

photo of Ohio corn field
DAN KONIK

Around the state of Ohio, farmers are seeing their property taxes soar because of the way their land value is calculated. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, the state’s two main farmer groups want lawmakers to change the formula.

The formula for determining property taxes on farmland is known as the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV). It’s been around for decades.

Pro Football Hall of Fame proposal / NFL Hall of Fame

The half-billion-dollar Pro Football Hall of Fame Village project in Canton is supposed to be done in 2019. WKSU’s Tim Rudell says that’s why Canton City Council wrapped up 2016 with tax legislation aimed at supporting the development.

photo of money
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

If you are thinking about joining a gym, returning an unwanted holiday gift or changing companies you do business with in this new year, Ohio’s Attorney General has some advice for you.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says if you join a gym, read the fine print. The contract generally shouldn’t last longer than three years and you’ll have three days to cancel if you want.

He says don’t wait to use gift cards. They can get lost, lose value and the business could close its doors before you use it.

photo of two $1 bills
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s minimum wage is set to increase on January 1st. 

A voter-approved constitutional amendment a few years ago means the required pay for most minimum wage workers will increase by five cents an hour - or about $2.00 for a 40-hour week. The increase is tied to inflation.

Ohio workers got a bigger increase in 2016 when the wage increased by 15 cents an hour.

photo of Monopoly house and coins
WKSU

A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows payday lenders in Ohio charge the highest interest rates in the U.S.

Interest rates for payday loans in Ohio are as high as 591 percent. That’s despite the 2008 Short-Term Lending Act, which limits interest rates to 28 percent.

Pew's Alex Horowitz is encouraging Ohio to follow other states that have taken action to curb predatory lending.

U.S. Census Figures Show a Wide Gap in Ohio Median Incomes

Dec 27, 2016
photo of money
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The latest Census figures show a wide gap in median family incomes in Ohio.

Overall, the numbers show median family incomes were highest in southern Ohio, in suburbs of Cincinnati and Columbus. New Albany made the top of the list, with a median family income of $221,148.

East Cleveland was at the bottom of the list, where the average family brought in $30,411. Even though Ohio’s median family income has risen 5 percent in the last three years, a third of Clevelanders still live in poverty.

The Economic Outlook for Northeast Ohio is Mostly Positive

Dec 27, 2016
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

Despite some potential soft spots, Northeast Ohio’s economy should see continued improvement in the new year.

Jacob Duritsky is vice president of strategy and research at Team NEO, the region’s economic development organization. He says in 2017, Northeast Ohio’s job growth should continue to follow the upward trend of the past three years. He says the health-care field will remain strong, but there is some concern about the important manufacturing sector.

photo of John Kasich and reporters
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s tax revenue has fallen short of official estimates. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, Gov. John Kasich is offering one possible solution.

Kasich says Ohio and about 20 other states are seeing a drop in spending, leading to less state revenue. And he says that means this budget will be tough. Kasich even hinted for the first time that the state might turn to its savings account.

Kent Scarrett
OHIO MUNICIPAL LEAGUE

A new report by the Ohio Municipal League calls for the state to restore local government funding,

The group wants the local funding to return to the rate it was at in 2007, when nearly 4 percent of general revenue was earmarked for local governments. This year, only 2 percent has been earmarked.

Kent Scarrett, who is the executive director of the league, says that the increased funding would help local governments with infrastructure issues.

photo of Ohio Statehouse
THE OHIO LEGISLATURE

Two think tanks that are normally on opposite sides are very pleased with a bill passed in the lame-duck legislature which would require a review of billions of dollars in tax breaks and loopholes. 

Greg Lawson with the conservative Buckeye Institute says he’s thrilled lawmakers passed the bill forcing them to study $8 billion in tax expenditures, credits and other breaks – though he says it’s not enough.

Lordstown Schools Waive Fees for Students After GM Layoffs

Dec 14, 2016
photo of Lordstown GM
WKSU

The Lordstown school district  has waived participation and classroom fees for its students, many of whose parents were laid off from the Lordstown GM factory last month.

The waiver applies to athletic programs, and fees for books and classroom supplies. There is no cost to participate in arts and music programs.

Lordstown Superintendent Terry Armstrong says recovering from economic hardship will take a community effort.

photo of BAAM 3D printer
CINCINNATI, INC.

An Akron company is bringing 3-D printing to Northeast Ohio on a scale it says is the largest in the world.

By late January, Additive Engineering Solutions should be up-and-running with its large-scale 3-D printer, from Ohio-based Cincinnati, Inc. It's about the size of a single-car garage. In fact, this model printer was used to produce a working automobile at a manufacturing trade show in 2014.

photo of John Kasich
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Gov. John Kasich made a surprise appearance on the floor of the Ohio House on Tuesday. He told lawmakers to expect a tough budget because Ohio is on “the verge of a recession." But a report from his budget office doesn’t back up that claim.

SHUTTERSTOCK

There’s been a battle to change what employers pay into -- and what benefits workers get out of -- the state’s unemployment compensation fund. Now the bill to deal with that seems to be stalled at the Statehouse.

A legislative review of the latest proposal to shore up the fund found that it would increase employer taxes by just under 2 percent, but it would decrease worker benefits by more than 17 percent.

The bill was expected to get a vote out of committee, but at the last minute it was pulled. Republican Committee Chair Louis Blessing III announced the surprise move:

photo of airport workers
MATT RICHMOND / WCPN

About a hundred people rallied for a fifteen dollar minimum wage outside of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport today.  The demonstration was part of a national, union-organized day of action.  

The Service Employees International Union organized rallies in Cleveland and other cities across the country. SEIU already represents city workers at Cleveland Hopkins and outside, near the arrivals area, airport employee and SEIU organizer Sandra Ellington says she’s out to support lower wage workers.

Salvation Army facility
Cleveland Development Associates

The U.S. Treasury has awarded Northeast Ohio more than $100 million in tax credits to help spur investment and economic development in low-income areas. 

Photo of the Ohio Supreme Court's main courtroom
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state's highest court has ruled that online retailers who do business in Ohio must pay the Commercial Activity Tax, even if the businesses have no physical offices in Ohio. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the decision will affect about $1.7 billion in revenue each year.

Cleveland Study Looks at 'Big City Problems' Affecting Smaller Ohio Cities

Nov 16, 2016
photo of John Begala
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

A Cleveland-based research group is examining the impact of so-called big city problems on small Ohio towns.

A new report by the Center for Community Solutions finds that smaller towns depend more on shrinking “old-economy jobs” than their urban counterparts.

John Begala authored the study.

Vacant Akron buildings
KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

The City of Akron is pushing to improve the city’s overall economy by increasing downtown residences. Today, Mayor Dan Horrigan released a plan he and city leaders hope will reverse the trend of companies moving to the suburbs to do business where most people now live.  

First Energy Headquarters
Tim Rudell / WKSU

FirstEnergy is considering moving away from its competitive-market power-generation businesses and back to being a fully regulated utility.  Could such a change make the Akron-based Corporation vulnerable to a takeover?  

Probably not, says Barry Abramson, a senior analyst with Saber Partners energy industry consulting firm in New York. 

John Kasich announcing he's running for president
C-SPAN

Ohio agencies are already looking past this election to the upcoming state budget process. The governor’s office is working up his final two-year spending plan that he’ll introduce in January.

Each of Gov. John Kasich’s three budgets has included tax cuts. Republicans will still be in charge in the legislature after this fall’s vote, so Office of Budget and Management Director Tim Keen says Kasich will likely propose more tax cuts.

You’re probably wearing one now.  The zipper is a ubiquitous fashion accessory whose design has remained relatively unchanged since it was invented one hundred years ago. 

But in this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair meets a young entrepreneur who’s working on a new approach that could undo the zipper industry.

photo of help wanted sign
SHUTTERSTOCK

Ohio’s jobless rate ticked up slightly last month. 

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports September’s jobless rate was 4.8 percent, up a 0.1 percent from August.  

Government, construction, hospitality, manufacturing and the health-care industries lost more than 3,000 jobs, but around the same number were added in the finance sector.

But even with the uptick, Ohio’s jobless rate remains below the nation’s unemployment rate of 5 percent, and a full point above its all-time low from April 2001.

Photo of Wingfoot Two
GOODYEAR

Goodyear’s newest blimp – Wingfoot Two – was christened Friday by Savannah James – wife of LeBron James -- at the company’s hangar in Suffield.

Savannah James christened the blimp on a wet and windy day in front of hundreds of employees and their families. The festivities included a performance by the University of Akron marching band.

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