Gov. Mike DeWine came to Akron on Wednesday and announced a proposed new income tax credit for businesses that invest in economically distressed parts of Ohio and create jobs.

DeWine told a morning business roundtable at the University of Akron that the 10 percent income tax credit for so-called Opportunity Zones in the state will be included in his proposed 2020-21 budget that will be unveiled on Friday.

“We have in Summit County 16 Opportunity Zones,” DeWine said. “320 Opportunity Zones statewide.”

Opportunity Zones are a creation of the 2017 federal tax reform package. Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts that local communities identified and nominated as having strong potential for development. The program involves the use of federal tax credits to provide incentives to businesses to move into or expand in the zones.

“What we propose to do in Ohio is enhance these with a tax break also from the state of Ohio,” DeWine said. “We think this will put us at a competitive advantage to other states.”

The income tax credit also is intended to induce people outside the state to invest in Ohio, DeWine said.

“Getting more capital invested in Ohio is absolutely essential,” he said. “The government cannot do this. This has to primarily come from the private sector.”

The governor said his administration thinks Opportunity Zones will greatly help parts of the state that are lagging behind.

Under DeWine's proposal, the 10 percent income tax credit would be nonrefundable.

In Summit County, the Opportunity Zones are:

• Three adjoining tracts covering downtown Akron and the University of Akron.

• Three adjoining tracts covering the Sherbondy Hill neighborhood and the Rolling Acres area on Akron's west side.

• Three adjoining tracts covering parts of Akron's North Hill and Chapel Hill areas. 

• Two adjoining tracts covering parts of the Summit Lake and Firestone Park neighborhoods of Akron.

• Two adjoining tracts covering parts of East Akron, Middlebury, Goodyear Heights and Ellet, including Akron Fulton International Airport.

• Two adjoining tracts covering much of Barberton.

• One tract covering part of downtown Cuyahoga Falls and a residential portion to its northwest as far as Graham Road.

DeWine touched on other issues in his opening remarks before roundtable participants spoke. The governor said he and his staff came to the hour-long roundtable, held inside a conference room at the University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium, primarily to listen.

John Green, the university’s interim president, served as moderator. Participants included Marc Merklin, managing partner at law firm Brouse McDowell and chairman of the Greater Akron Chamber; Steve Millard, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer; and representatives from Akron Children’s Hospital, GoJo, Schaeffler LLC, J.M. Smucker Co, Timken Co., Westfield and others from the university including two student trustees and Joe Gingo, chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

 

Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ