COLUMBUS – As part of an ongoing effort to ensure Ohio is the preferred location of entrepreneurs to do business, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced the rollout of two major initiatives – his office is partnering with Google to help new businesses get off the ground and achieve success in Ohio, and the 21 percent cut in new business filing fees takes effect today.
“By establishing Ohio as the best place in the nation for a business owner to succeed, we are throwing open the doors of our state to new industries and new job opportunities,” Secretary Husted said. “We’ve already taken steps to make starting your business simple and cost effective and through this partnership with Google, we’re now putting additional success tools into the hands of people who have just taken the first step in starting a new Ohio business.”
Google’s “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” program helps small businesses access various free tools and connect with community resources from the web giant in order to promote their new services and products. The new feature will give all new Ohio businesses information on how they can build a website, reserve a free domain name, have their office locations registered with Google’s map and search features and get advice from industry experts.
“The perception that getting online is complex, costly and time-consuming has prevented many Ohio small businesses from taking the first step,” said Rob Biederman, head of Google’s Government and Public Affairs for the Midwest region. “This program makes it fast, easy and free for businesses to get online.”
The announcement comes on the same day as Secretary Husted’s success dividend takes effect, which lowers the cost of registering a new business with the state by 21 percent. This cost reduction, made possible by Secretary Husted’s good fiscal stewardship, establishes Ohio as the least costly state in the region to start and maintain a business.
“We have changed the mindset of the office from a regulatory role to a customer service-driven mission,” Secretary Husted said. “Instead of processing paperwork and enforcing rules, we try to help people comply with the law, help them get their business started and give them more tools to be successful.”
Since taking office, Secretary Husted has reduced costs in the Secretary of State’s office by more than $14 million, representing a 16 percent reduction in spending when compared to the previous administration.
This significant reduction in spending was accomplished while providing more efficient services for Ohioans wishing to start a business, register a trade name, access historical documents or update their voter registration. Thanks to Secretary Husted’s efforts to modernize the office’s structure, 100 percent of Ohio-based businesses can now be started online, among many other services, through the Ohio Business Central feature on the Secretary of State’s website. As a result, the state’s response time on business applications has been reduced from four days or more to fewer than 24 hours in most cases.
“In the Secretary of State’s office, we’ve reduced fees and improved services while cutting costs to provide better, more efficient services to the public,” added Secretary Husted. “There are those who talk about running government more efficiently and there are those who do it – In my office, we are doing it.”
In January 2015, Secretary Husted urged the state legislature to pass legislation that reduced the costs associated with starting a new business in the state. The legislature responded with the passage of Substitute House Bill 3, which goes into effect on September 24th. After being initiated by Secretary Husted, the legislation quickly passed both chambers of the General Assembly with unanimous support from both parties.
The improvements to the services offered to current and future Ohio businesses have been the primary drivers of Ohio’s rise in new business filings, creating a record number of new businesses in Ohio each year for the past five years. This year stands to mark another record-breaking year for the state with Ohioans having already created more than 67,000 new businesses through August 2015, which is roughly 3,600 more than what was reported at the same point in 2014.
In addition to cutting the cost of starting a new business, Secretary Husted was also the only statewide officeholder in Ohio to request a reduction in state funding for his office in 2015.