The Valued Relationship between Public Policy and Business

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Regulatory hurdles are a daily challenge for members of the business community, especially for small business owners.

In fact, small businesses pay an average of $11,700 a year per employee in regulatory costs, which is nearly 20 percent higher than those of their average-size business counterparts.

Obstacles like these present the value of ensuring the collective voice of business is expressed at all levels of government – local, state and federal.

So how can businesses of all sizes be certain that their voices are heard when it comes to rules and regulations?

“I encourage businesses to establish relationships with their elected officials before they need them,” says Holly Gross, vice president of government relations at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. “These relationships are crucial in fostering a competitive economic climate and a regulatory framework that is favorable to growing our economy and creating jobs.”

And the relationship is mutually beneficial. Decision-makers benefit when hearing from their constituents on important issues, whether it be through direct communication with the business itself or through an advocacy partner like the Columbus Chamber.

This year to date, the Columbus Chamber is actively tracking 140 bills on behalf of its members. Business owners don’t always have the time, resources or knowledge of the legislative process to effectively monitor and advocate for themselves due to the sheer number of proposals that are introduced every session, and the Chamber is cognizant of that reality.

So what steps can businesses take to join the greater policy conversation? Talk to your local Chamber.

Most major metro Chambers have teams dedicated to Government Relations and can assist your business in establishing relationships with elected officials. Beyond that, they advocate on issues of importance that will directly affect your operations and bottom line.

The Ohio Metro Chambers Coalition – a collaboration between the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the eight largest metropolitan chambers of commerce in the state – is another advocate for business leaders. The Coalition works as a trusted resource to identify topics of collective interest impacting Ohio’s businesses, all to promote a pro-growth business climate. The Coalition’s 2018 Public Policy Priorities include: energy policy, minimum wage, smart cities/transportation, tax policy and technology-based economic development.

Additionally, there are several events around Columbus that allow businesses to have a first-row seat to some of the best conversations in public policy. Government Day, an initiative of the Columbus Chamber, assists business leaders in navigating government complexity, facilitating connections with elected officials and raising the collective voice of the Columbus Region business community with our partners in government.

Falling on October 16, Government Day will feature numerous enlightening conversations, including a panel discussion of talented women in leadership positions to discuss how female leaders uniquely influence and shape the public policymaking process, focusing on issues of interest to the business community.

A series of breakout discussions will cover topics like education and workforce, as well as transportation and infrastructure funding, before featuring the lunch program where attendees will hear from both gubernatorial campaigns – Richard Cordray and Jon Husted – as they separately discuss their respective visions for the future of Ohio.

This event will give businesses the opportunity to have a direct impact on the dialogue surrounding our community’s most pressing topics.

Learn more about Government Relations and register to attend Government Day at columbus.org.

— The Columbus Chamber of Commerce offers news, information and other resources that are free and available to all businesses at columbus.org. —