New crossing would be a bridge to jobs in Ohio

The Advertiser-Tribune

By State Sen. Gayle Manning

In a previous column, I highlighted some of the policies and bills passed by the General Assembly this year that are helping to make Ohio a more competitive place for businesses to locate and create jobs. While our actions are having an impact all across the state, I also wanted to mention initiatives that are bringing new jobs and development to the communities within the 13th Senate District.

Shortly after being sworn into the Ohio Senate, I was made aware of a situation at Custom Culinary, a company that manufactures nonbeverage food products such as sauces and soups for commercial use and has a facility in Avon. Custom Culinary was at a competitive disadvantage with similar businesses in other states due to state regulations regarding the purchase of alcohol for their products – the company had to buy the wine or beer needed in the same small containers sold to the public rather than in bulk. As a result, each container had to be opened individually, increasing the ingredient and labor costs for Custom Culinary’s products.

After meeting with officials from Custom Culinary as well as representatives from the Ohio Department of Commerce, I introduced legislation – now law – that provided a common-sense solution to this issue by permitting manufacturers such as Custom Culinary to purchase the alcohol needed for their products wholesale in bulk rather than in individual containers. I am pleased to say Custom Culinary recently announced plans to expand its operations in Avon and add jobs, a move that likely would have been delayed were it not for the change in state law.

The new tax incentives my colleagues and I approved earlier this year also are showing results, with several major employers revealing plans to create or retain jobs here in Ohio instead of in other states. Republic Steel announced recently it is expanding its steel-making operations in Lorain, a move that is expected to create more than 400 jobs and retain nearly 500 others. Also, Ford has committed to moving its medium truck and frame assembly to northeastern Ohio from Mexico, a deal which is to preserve hundreds of jobs and ensure operations at Ford’s plant in Avon Lake continue for years to come.

We also are working to support the export of Ohio goods to other markets, such as Canada. I have introduced a resolution in the Ohio Senate that urges support for the construction of the New International Trade Crossing linking the U.S. and Canada. Canada is Ohio’s top export market, with more than 300,000 jobs in Ohio supported by trade between the two countries. Construction of the bridge could potentially create 10,000 construction jobs and more than 25,000 indirect jobs during the construction period in the United States.

While these policies all hold tremendous potential for bringing prosperity back to our state, we must continue to look for new and innovative ways to improve our state. As we begin a new year, I remain committed to working toward solutions to the challenges we face and making Ohio a great place to live, work and raise a family.