Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel told local business owners Wednesday that Ohio’s shale gas industry could benefit Toledo’s manufacturing sector.
He spoke at a roundtable discussion at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Sylvania.
Mr. Mandel said auto-industry plants along the I-75 corridor that lost jobs in the recession could benefit from shale and oil exploration in eastern Ohio.
The state treasurer said the new industry is in its development stage, and discovery of shale in the eastern part of the state could benefit Toledo in two ways: by driving down energy costs for businesses, enabling them to use the savings to provide more jobs, and by creating manufacturing to support the energy boom.
“Lost jobs can be replaced with manufacturing parts for the oil and gas drilling industries,” he said.
More than 10 business owners in the Sylvania area attended the hour-long session. It was hosted by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Mandel also talked about low-interest loan initiatives supported by the state, such as the Grow Now program, and listened to suggestions on steps the state can take to make Ohio more business-friendly.
Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough called the state’s burdensome tax-filing system costly and time-consuming for small business owners such as himself. He is an owner of Stough and Stough Architects.
“I have contact with 10 different state agencies to run my five-member firm, and that seems like too many,” Mr. Stough said. “If there is some way the state of Ohio could roll some of those together, it would make life better for small business owners.”
Mr. Stough suggested creating a one-stop shop for businesses to save time when filing workers’ compensation, unemployment, income tax, and other government documents.
Ohio is the only state in which each city has its own business tax forms, Mr. Mandel said. Simplifying and standardizing the municipal income tax system could work in favor of small companies, he said.
The right-to-work issue was briefly discussed. Mr. Mandel said he supports a worker’s right to choose what is best for his family, noting that neighboring states of Michigan and Indiana have right-to-work laws. Michigan’s right-to-work law took effect in March.
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