Common Sense Initiative Brings Common Sense to Business Regulations

by Ohio Chamber of Commerce

On April 17, Mark Hamlin from Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI) Office visited with the Ohio Chamber’s Small Business Council to update members on CSI and its efforts to streamline and reform Ohio’s business regulations. Gov. Kasich created CSI in 2011 through Executive Order 2011-01K and immediately appointed Taylor to lead the office. CSI was then codified into law by Senate Bill 2. The Ohio Chamber actively supported both of these efforts and has been engaged with Taylor and CSI ever since.

Hamlin described this rule review process and informed the Small Business Council that in 2012, Ohio’s rule filings were 44 percent below the state’s historical average. This drop is largely due to the fact that the CSI reviews have forced agencies to pause and ensure that they have met the CSI criteria and will be able to justify any rules they propose. In addition, the CSI Office has worked closely with agencies to encourage CSI values and minimize business impacts, resulting in rule packages with better justifications and often changes to the rules themselves.

In addition to the rule review process, CSI operates along a second track, which allows it to work directly with businesses to resolve issues that are affecting them. The Small Business Council discussed this track and specific initiatives involving the CSI Office. Ohio Chamber member Tom Secor, of Durable Corp. in Norwalk, shared two stories about interactions with CSI. In the first, he contacted the office after being told by a county building inspector he would need to hire a separate contractor to inspect and certify bolts being used in an addition to his manufacturing facility. Working with the state building department, CSI was able to identify an alternative way to ensure and certify the safety of the bolts with no additional cost to the company.

In a separate instance, Secor referred a company to the CSI Office after the company mistakenly paid $65,000 in sales tax. It learned of the mistake when it started bouncing checks. The company’s CPA contacted the Department of Taxation and was told that it could get a refund but would have to wait six months. CSI was able to immediately work with Taxation and get it to expedite the refund so the company could continue to operate.

“CSI works because the lieutenant governor supports the program and she believes in it,” Secor says. “If you are getting nowhere on an issue that deals with state government, they will work with you to address your concerns.”

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