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Baker Legislation to Encourage Business Expansion into Vacant Facilities Signed by Governor

COLUMBUS—Governor Kasich recently signed into law House Bill 18, sponsored by Representative Nan Baker (R-Westlake). The bill authorizes a $500 per-employee grant for a business that expands into a facility that has been vacant for 12 months and creates new jobs.

For larger companies expanding their payrolls and moving into a vacant building, at least 50 new employees would have to be added. For smaller companies expanding their payrolls, such as a hair salon, hardware store or pizza shop, 50 percent of their payroll would have to be added to be affected.

“This legislation continues our focus on jobs and economic development,” Representative Baker said. “Because of it, businesses that are out of space and need to add employees will be encouraged to relocate to a larger place and invest in communities that have been hard-hit by the difficult economy. I’m grateful to have Governor Kasich’s support on the legislation.”

Additional provisions in the legislation specify that an employer may receive no more than one grant per newly created job and limits the program to three years to give the Department of Development an opportunity to review the program for its effectiveness. Depending on the economy at the time of review, this bill can be reintroduced. It also authorizes the award of grants from the Facilities Establishment Fund or from unencumbered funds available to any entity performing job creation or other economic development functions for the state.

House Bill 18 was originally introduced during the 128th General Assembly as House Bill 437, which was part of the “Future of Ohio” jobs package—a collection of 10 bills that aimed to facilitate economic growth and job creation in Ohio. House Bill 18 passed the House and Senate with wide bipartisan support.