State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today expressed disappointment in the passage of House Bill 180, legislation that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities.
“House Bill 180 is an anti-Ohio jobs bill and that is why I voted no. House Bill 180 limits the opportunity of residents of the 8th House District to get work from the $331 million Opportunity Corridor project,” said Smith. “What this bill does do is create jobs for out-of-state workers on Ohio public works jobsites. They will get a paycheck here and spend it somewhere else. This bill hurts Ohio’s middle class and working families.”
Some Ohio communities use local hiring quotas on publicly financed projects as a way to strengthen local workforce participation and, in turn, strengthen local economies. For example, the City of Akron – in the early stages of a $1.4 billion sewer system upgrade project – currently has a local hiring target of 30 percent, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018.
Urban areas typically have higher unemployment rates than the national average, making the decision to hire local even more impactful for improving the job market in Ohio’s urban areas. Local hiring on public works projects offers a pathway to toward full workforce inclusion for all members of a community, including minority and at-risk populations.
The cities of Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Lima, Dayton, and Columbus, among others, all testified in opposition to the bill.