Senate District 1
Rob McColley
Celebrating the Backbone of Ohio's Economy During Small Business Week
A guest column by Senator Rob McColley
May 3, 2018

One of my first priorities when becoming your Senator was to get out into the community and meet the hardworking people who make up the backbone of Ohio's economy and employ almost half of the state's workforce—our entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

This year, April 29 - May 5 marks the 55th anniversary of National Small Business Week, and it remains apparent to me that the American Dream is alive and well in Northwest Ohio. This week we pause and recognize the firm commitments, difficult decisions, and countless risks that are made each day by Ohio's 940,000 small business owners. Furthermore, we celebrate their contribution to the economic growth we have seen as a state.

Since 1963, we as a nation have taken a week each year to honor small business owners, and thank them for the role they play in our communities. Approximately 2.1 million people are employed in Ohio by small businesses. As lawmakers, we owe it to you to keep our foot on the gas and double-down on our commitment to improving our small business climate. Even as we watch our economy grow stronger, we know the work is not done.

Overreaching government regulation and burdensome occupational licensing are two examples of major barriers to prosperity, which I hope to pass legislation to fix by the end of 2018. I am confident these reforms will boost Ohio's small business environment and ensure there is a bright future ahead.

With nearly 250,000 restrictions, Ohio is one of the most heavily regulated states, trailing only New York and Illinois, and far surpassing the neighboring states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. My legislation aims to cut that number by 30 percent over the next three years, allowing small businesses more freedom to grow without unnecessary restrictions, and aligning Ohio with national averages.

Similarly, reforms must be made to our current occupational licensing standards. While protecting the health and safety of the public is of the utmost importance, there is no doubt that some occupations have lower risks, and therefore should not require a license. For some professions, such as hair braiders or interior designers, for example, state licensing requirements that do not improve the health and safety of the public should not be a barrier to entrepreneurs, small businesses, or potential employees.

Rather than requiring a permission slip from Columbus to earn a living, we should be encouraging the expansion of our workforce by making it as easy as possible to start a rewarding career. With legislation I introduced earlier this year, we can reduce these barriers to entry and improve Ohio's business climate for everyone.

Small businesses are the backbone of Ohio's economy, and I am eager to continue working on their behalf. As always, if you have ideas, questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time at 614-466-8150 or at

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