Ohio finished its ninth consecutive record-breaking year in business filings in 2018. The state oversaw more than 125,000 new business filings, which is a 55 percent increase from 2010.
This number is calculated by how many forms are filed with the Secretary of State’s office declaring a new business entity.
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"During the last eight years, my administration has focused on providing the best customer service possible, implementing innovative reforms, and cutting costs and processing times associated with starting and maintaining a business in Ohio," Secretary of State Jon Husted said in a news release. "As a result, we have made our state a place where people increasingly want to do business and shown how government can – and should – work."
The Secretary of State’s office attributed business filing growth to making it simpler and less costly to conduct business and other reasons. Those reasons include the ability for businesses to form and renew business statuses online through the launch of the Ohio Business Central website; a 21 percent reduction in costs to start and maintain a business; a partnership with Google; ensuring that all forms for starting and maintaining a business can be done online; and customer service and caller-waiting-time improvements.
Though an increase in business filings does not necessarily mean that these businesses will become successful and lead to a better statewide economy, Andrew Kidd, an economist at the Ohio-based, free-market Buckeye Institute, told Watchdog.org that business filing statistics are one of several indications that point toward a growing economy. Ohio also has had success in several other areas, including jobs creation, increased wages and economic output, he said.
"What the number of new business filings tells us is how business-friendly Ohio is," Kidd said. "More filings imply businesses can more easily be started, that there are fewer regulatory hurdles someone must jump over to start their business, and that the tax code is pro-growth, which leads to job creation as well."
Kidd attributed Ohio’s increase in business filings to the increased ease of opening a business, which he said was caused by a combination of the launch of the Ohio Business Central website and decreased regulations and taxes. Specifically, he pointed toward the elimination of two taxes – the corporate franchise tax and inventory tax – and the reduction of the state income tax.
The new legislative session for Ohio began Monday with some new members. Kidd said that if the lawmakers wants to ensure that this growth continues, they should eliminate the Commercial Activity Tax and other taxes that are "anti-growth," and should avoid raising taxes.
Under Husted, the Secretary of State’s office decreased spending by $14.5 million in his first term and requested a cut in his second term. Husted will be assuming the office of lieutenant governor on Jan. 14 following the close gubernatorial race between Richard Cordray and now-governor-elect Mike DeWine.