October 06, 2015
Cincinnati needs Congress to act now
Last week, the Enquirer editorial board joined the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber in urging Congress to act now on these priorities (below) that are so important to economic growth in Greater Cincinnati.This opinion-editorial was printed by the Enquirer on Wednesday, September 30th.
The Greater Cincinnati business community is calling on Congress to address three major legislative issues this fall that have a direct and significant impact on our region. Cincinnati is experiencing job growth and low unemployment, and we are making strategic investments to continue increasing the region’s competitiveness. To keep this strong momentum, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber urges lawmakers to act on these issues:
- Invest in a long-term surface transportation bill that includes sustainable and innovative funding. In 2013, the Federal Highway Administration determined that 6,647 of the 27,015 bridges in Ohio (24.6 percent) are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. According to TRIP, a national transportation research group, 24 percent of greater Cincinnati’s bridges were evaluated as functionally obsolete – including the Brent Spence Bridge. Additionally, each motorist in Cincinnati loses an average of 37 hours of productivity annually due to traffic congestion. From 2011 through 2013, Cincinnati had the most traffic fatalities (135) than any other major metropolitan area in the state.
Passing another short-term extension that doesn’t lock in a long-term solution will only make the problem worse by jeopardizing public safety and increasing project costs. The time is now to make sustainable investments in infrastructure that could benefit the Cincinnati region directly – including projects like the Western Hills Viaduct and the Brent Spence Bridge corridor.
- Revive the Export-Import Bank. The authority of the U.S. Export-Import Bank expired this summer. The bank had supported the local economy by working with more than 50 Cincinnati businesses and driving more than $1 billion in export value over the last eight years. The region is feeling the impact of the bank’s loss directly as some local businesses are investing in resources and jobs overseas in countries that offer this critical financing tool.
The Export-Import Bank supported 1.3 million jobs across the country and reduced the national deficit by $2.7 billion in the last six years due to fees charged to foreign customers of the bank. Almost 90 percent of the transactions the bank processed went to small businesses, including many in the Cincinnati region. Reviving the Export-Import Bank is imperative to the continued growth of the Cincinnati economy.
- Permanently authorize various tax provisions. There are a number of vital tax programs expiring this year that are important to this region. The New Market Tax Credit has supported a number of great cornerstone redevelopment projects, such as areas in Over-the-Rhine and Fountain Square. Other important business credits include programs supporting research and development, support for employers hiring military workers, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and nearly 30 other programs. The business community needs a multiyear or permanent commitment from Congress to act on these important programs and provide these permanent extensions. Regulatory certainty would give Cincinnati’s businesses the confidence to hire new employees, expand and further invest in the community.
The chamber understands that the fall congressional session is a busy one. With the 2016 election season right around the corner, the fall session is also a likely time for meaningful work. The Cincinnati region cannot afford to wait until 2017 for these important decisions to be made.
We encourage Congress to provide Cincinnati area businesses with the certainty needed to grow the economy and grow jobs. You can join the chamber’s advocacy efforts by calling your congressional representative and asking him to support jobs and business by investing in transportation, reviving the Export-Import Bank, and making tax extenders permanent.
Join the Chamber in advocating for a long-term surface transportation bill, reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, and permanent authorization of tax credits by sending a letter to Congress.
More News from the Chamber's Government Affairs Team