Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016
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It shouldn't take an act of the Ohio General Assembly to keep an employer headquartered in the state, but when it saves 2,000 Ohio jobs, it's hard to complain. American Greetings, which has been doing business from the Cleveland suburb of Brooklyn for almost 55 years, is going to stay in Ohio.

A tax-reform bill signed Monday by Gov. John Kasich creates a refundable job-retention tax credit in exchange for the retention of at least 1,000 employees and capital improvements. It was custom-made for the northeast Ohio corporation to keep it in Ohio.

Retaining the greeting-card manufacturer and its 2,000 jobs was one of Governor Kasich's first priorities after his election. He urged the legislature to move fast on the incentive, which had not been available in Ohio.

With bipartisan cooperation, the package of business-tax reforms flew through the House and was quickly signed into law. The Cleveland-area company said the measure was an important factor in its decision to stay.

The outpouring of political support and arm-twisting to persuade American Greetings -- as well as other companies -- to ditch relocation plans has been impressive. Local officials worked for a year with the administration of former Gov. Ted Strickland and the Ohio Department of Development to keep the card maker anchored in Ohio.

That kind of public-private job-saving mission -- not necessarily an act of the General Assembly -- is what is needed to help major employers in the state remain competitive while encouraging reciprocal investment in employment opportunities. It could go a long way toward resuscitating Ohio's economy.

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