Ohio Metro Chambers’ “Redesigning Ohio” Report Recognized For Excellence by Harvard Kennedy School

Mar 29, 2017
“Redesigning Ohio,” a report originally released in 2010 by the Metro Chambers Coalition—comprising nine Ohio chambers and including the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber—was recently recognized on a new Harvard Kennedy School website that focuses on operational excellence in government.
“Redesigning Ohio,” a report originally released in 2010 by the Metro Chambers Coalition—comprising nine Ohio chambers and including the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber—was recently recognized on a new Harvard Kennedy School website that focuses on operational excellence in government.

The report, one of 30 studies of 200 reviewed that was selected for the website, provided recommendations for sweeping changes to help the state improve economic performance and reduce costs and was referred to as “the best written and one of the most thoughtful, strategic and valuable among all those read.” 

At the time of the report’s creation, Tony Paglia was vice president of Government Affairs at the Regional Chamber. Paglia (now a senior consultant with Pecchia Communications), who was instrumental in overseeing the writing and editing of the original plan and updates made to it in 2012, said, “It’s thrilling to see that ‘Redesigning Ohio’ received an outstanding review from the Harvard Kennedy School, which many consider the foremost institution in the U.S. for studying government policy and preparing people to be effective government officials.”

Under the leadership of Regional Chamber President & CEO Tom Humphries, who was chairman of the Metro Chambers Coalition at the time, the group put together a funding package in order to create and implement the report.

“Ohio was facing dire times—a looming $8 billion budget deficit and poor business climate,” Humphries said. “The report culminated a year of analysis with ideas to improve our state. Some of those ideas have been implemented and they have produced positive results. Now, it’s gratifying that an institution as prestigious as Harvard has recognized our efforts.”

The Metro Chambers Coalition leveraged the report to provide key budget and legislative recommendations to encourage transformative reform across a variety of areas including criminal justice reform, local governments, tax expenditures and government efficiency.

A number of recommendations from “Redesigning Ohio” have been implemented in the state, including criminal justice reform in 2011 that made sweeping changes intended to divert low-level, non-violent criminals into community settings to reduce costs; the creation of the Local Government Innovation Fund in 2012, which supports innovation and efficiency within local governments; and the creation of the tax expenditure review committee, signed into law in 2016, that will assess the return on investment of Ohio’s various tax credit programs and make needed changes.

“I truly believe ‘Redesigning Ohio’ was well ahead of its time and continues to provide a blueprint for reforming and renewing local and state government to be more efficient, effective and productive for its citizens," said Paglia.

In addition to the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, the Metro Chambers Coalition includes the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Columbus Chamber, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Akron Chamber, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. The coalition worked with author and public policy expert David Osborne and former state budget director Greg Browning to draft the final recommendations.