By Richard Payerchin
The president's economic policies are hurting the abilities of small businesses to create jobs, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said.
Mandel hosted a conference call yesterday with officials from Invacare Corp. and the Ohio Coal Association to discuss two issues affecting Ohio businesses. Mandel, a Republican candidate for Senate, panned his opponent, incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, and President Obama for policies hostile to creating new jobs.
"Businesses are guilty until proven innocent," Mandel said.
Mandel cited conversations with people from his recent 22-county business tour. They were critical about government borrowing and spending, Mandel said, and one truck driver said he did not believe he would earn as much money next year.
He also criticized the medical device excise tax, which was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which also has been dubbed "Obamacare" after the president.
The 2.3 percent tax on sales of healthcare supplies is set to take effect in 2013.
The tax "is a job killer" for companies that make healthcare products, Mandel said.
It was unclear exactly what effect the tax would have on Invacare because there is an exemption for items sold at retail to consumers, said Cara Bachenheimer, vice president of Invacare.
However, the company supports legislation to repeal the excise tax, Bachenheimer said.
The House Ways & Means Committee yesterday recommended repealing the tax and sent the legislation for a vote of the full House of Representatives, said Philip Minardi, spokesman for bill sponsor Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Minnesota Republican.
The president also has "a war on coal," Ohio Coal Association President Mike Carey said. The policies are troubling for workers who mine and process coal, which is the most economical fuel source for energy production, Carey said.
As energy costs go up, people spend a larger proportion of their income to pay for necessities such as heating and cooling their homes, Carey said. That leaves less disposable income to spend on other items, which hurts the economy, Carey said in a follow-up conversation after the conference call.
Low energy costs also make it affordable for manufacturers to make products in Ohio, Carey said.
Power companies are in a rush to shut down or retool coal-fired power stations to burn natural gas because they don't know what the administration's air quality standards will be, Carey said.
That could hurt consumers who have to pay more when natural gas prices go up, Carey said. Coal priceshave been more stable than natural gas prices, ensuring lower long-term energy costs for consumers, he said.
In Lorain County, GenOn Energy has announced plans to shut down its Avon Lake electric producing plant in April 2015.
The company has said the cost of complying with environmental regulations would be a losing proposition financially. The 763-megawatt power station, 33570 Lake Road, burns coal and fuel oil to power the generators that create electricity at the plant.