By Emily Williams - Contributing Writer Springfield News-Sun
The site of Urbana’s new high school is still a construction zone: Hard hats are required upon entry, sawdust clouds the hallways and the building echoes with a steady drum of hammering.
In just about three months, however, the building will be fully prepared for students and teachers to move in, said Urbana superintendent Charles Thiel.
“We’re slightly ahead of schedule,” Thiel said.
Local requirements to be certified for occupancy could cause delays late, but Thiel said the district will be doing its best to work with local authorities and deliver on its target date of April 10, 2018 — right after students return from their spring break.
The new school, at a cost of about $25 million, will replace the 120-year-old school building currently in use. Much of the old school will be torn down to make room for a new parking lot, but the oldest part of the building — referred to as the “castle” — will remain standing, though no definite plans are in place for how it will be used.
Moving into the new building with just five weeks left in the school year might seem unusual, Thiel said, but those weeks will be crucial to completing the full project — including the demolition of the old building and the addition of new parking space — by next fall.
Last week a handful of community members were given a tour of the new building as part of the local chamber of commerce’s “Education Day” for Champaign County leaders.
Key among questions at the meeting regarded tax reform legislation that was passed this week by the House and Senate. Regarding the legislation’s plan to reduce the federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, he said, employers will “plow that extra 14 percent back into their businesses … That is a good thing for all of us and a good thing for our country.”
Jordan also spoke about his desire for a second special counsel to be appointed to investigate the FBI’s activity in the Clinton investigation.
Last month, in another meeting organized by the CEP, Jordan spoke with representatives of local manufacturing companies.
By Dr. Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President of Urbana University
A 2017 economic impact study by the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) reports that Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, increased the economy of Champaign and Logan Counties by $60.4 million over the course of the 2015-2016 academic year. The estimate, which is nearly double the $31.3 million estimated from the 2010-2011 fiscal year, includes the impact of operations, student spending and capital investment.
The nearly twofold growth in economic impact signals the important engine of growth that Urbana University has become for the region, through money spent in their local areas and through the education and employment of local workers.
As a private, four-year institution located in Urbana, Ohio, Urbana University enrolled nearly 4,000 students and directly employed 150 full- and part-time workers during the 2015-2016 academic year. The institution benefits Champaign and Clark Counties in a number of ways, principally by increasing the training and knowledge base of the area, but also through its expenditures, its employees, and its students.
The local economy receives benefits from Urbana University in three ways: through its operations, student spending, and capital expenditures. The direct spending for its operations affects the local economy as the institution and its employees purchase local goods and services. In turn, those local businesses and associated employees increase spending and buy local goods and services.
The total economic impact from Urbana University’s operations falls into two categories. The first category is the net economic impact of new money from outside of the two-county region that is spent within the local economy because of Urbana University. The second economic impact category is the retained economic impact, which results from spending of local students that may have moved elsewhere for education if it were not for Urbana University.
In addition to the economic impact it provides through salaries, Urbana University has helped raise the skills of the area’s workforce by educating potential workers. This elevated skillset in turn increases the supply of human capital in the region. In addition, by raising the region’s demand for human capital, Urbana University has helped local businesses create jobs for skilled workers.
This contribution is significant because regions with higher levels of human capital tend to be more innovative, have greater amounts of economic activity, and enjoy faster economic growth, and workers in these regions tend to be more productive and earn higher wages.
The 2017 SOCHE report displays the economic impact of Urbana University on the two-county Champaign and Clark County areas. The University increased economic output in the two-county region by nearly $60.4 million in fiscal year 2016 and led to approximately 5.6 million in total tax revenues, of which more than $757,000 accrued to local municipal and county governments.
SOCHE’s impact study illustrates the impact of Urbana University as an economic stimulant for the region. Through changing times and economic climates, Urbana University has continued to provide the quality training and education needed for individuals to better themselves, their careers and their lives. Through internships and other immersive work experiences, our students are connecting with in-demand industries and employers to advance our regional economy.
During fiscal year 2016, Urbana University spent $14.0 million on operations. Of this, approximately $6.7 million is attributable directly to the new money coming into the area due to Urbana University’s presence and $7.4 million is considered retained. This direct spending by the University from outside money generated a further $2.3 million in additional economic activity in Champaign and Clark Counties.
During the fiscal year 2016, Urbana University made capital expenditures. Urbana University made approximately $1.3 million in capital expenditures, of which $251,801 remained in the Champaign and Clark County economy, as many of the goods and services necessary for the capital purchases existed outside of the regional economy. This spending led to further local sales of $97,003, for a total impact on the two-county economy of approximately $349,000.
“Urbana University is an invaluable economic development partner in our county,” said Marcia Bailey, Champaign Economic Partnership, Economic Development Director “Their aggressive approach to developing collaborations has been a true differentiator in driving the regional economy.”
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, SOCHE is the trusted and recognized regional leader for higher collaboration, working with more than 20 colleges and universities to transform their communities and economies through the education, employment and engagement of nearly 150,000 students in southwest Ohio. For more information about SOCHE, visit http://www.soche.org/.
About Urbana University – A Branch Campus of Franklin University
Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, prepares students for successful and professional careers within a caring and supportive environment. Regionally well known for education and teacher preparation programs, Urbana was founded in 1850 and acquired by Franklin in 2014. Urbana’s 128-acre, residential campus nestled in heart of Ohio provides a background for students actively engaged in campus activities through 20 student-led academic, professional, performing arts, social and service organizations. Blue Knights athletics includes 17 NCAA Division II sports and three intercollegiate club sports. Urbana University is a division of Franklin University, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
by Matt Sanctis, Springfield News-Sun
A proposed tax reform package that could be before the Senate as early as this week has a good chance of passing, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan told a group of Champaign County business leaders on Monday.
Republicans have argued the tax plan would benefit families and businesses by increasing the standard deduction and child tax credit and cutting corporate tax rates. Democrats have criticized the proposed tax legislation as a giveaway to the rich.
“I do feel cautiously optimistic we’ll get tax reform legislation done before the end of the year,” Jordan, R-Urbana, said.
A recent report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the tax bill would add about $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said during testimony on the bill that the beneficiaries are the same corporations that have been rewarded for sending American jobs overseas.
“If you want to cut taxes for the middle class, why don’t you cut taxes for the middle class?” Brown said.
Jordan countered it would lead to economic growth to make up for some of those losses, although he argued spending cuts and welfare reform also should be required in subsequent legislation.
“We’ve got to get to 4 or 4.5 (percent) to be able to grow at a rate that can allow us to deal with a $20 trillion debt,” Jordan said of economic growth. “If you get growth moving in the right direction, then you’ve got to cut spending.”
Several business officials who attended the meeting asked about various issues, including raising concerns about a lack of available workforce.
Jordan also pushed for welfare reform, which he argued should include work requirements for able-bodied adults. Last year, Jordan proposed legislationthat would require able-bodied adults without dependents to work at least 80 hours per month, or take part in vocational training to continue to receive benefits. It included more lenient requirements for families with children.
“When you require something for the benefit, what happens is a lot of people will forego the benefit and just get a job,” Jordan said.
The Senate version of the tax reform bill includes a provision that would eliminate the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance, which Jordan said should have been included in the House version of the bill.
He argued Republicans made a mistake by trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, at the same time. Instead, he argued a simple repeal would have forced Democrats to the bargaining table.
“It was just poor strategy,” Jordan said of Republican efforts to repeal the ACA. “That’s why we advocated a two-bill strategy.”
Brown has argued including a repeal of the individual mandate in the tax reform package would cause millions of Americans to lose health insurance.
“Tax reform should be about cutting taxes for working families, not raising the cost of their health insurance,” Brown said. “It’s outrageous that senators, whose own health care is paid for by American taxpayers, would try to take health care away from working families in order to cut taxes on corporations that send jobs overseas.”
Some local business officials who attended the meeting said in general, the tax reform bill would provide some benefits to local manufacturing firms.
Mark Hunter, controller at Weidmann Electrical Technology in Urbana, said the corporate tax cuts might not translate directly into higher wages for employers. But he said cutting the corporate tax rate would allow the company to increase its capital spending, and likely expand and hire more employees.
“The wages are going to go up because competition is driving it up,” Hunter said. “We try to do whatever we can to maintain our current workforce.”
By Christopher Selmek, Urbana Daily Citizen- firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) spoke to the Champaign County Manufacturing Human Resources Council at Urbana University on Monday. He spent about a half hour answering questions from the group of about 20 business representatives. Jordan talked about politics in Washington, D.C., but also addressed audience concerns about federal debt, health care and education.
“Lots of things voters hate about Washington, but the two at the top of the list are when politicians say one thing at election time and get in office and do something else,” Jordan said. “It drives them crazy and it should. We’ve seen way too much of that. We make the job way too complicated and it should be pretty basic: what’d you tell the voters you were going to do when you ran for the job, they elected you, now go do what you said. Keep your promise.
“The second thing that also drives voters crazy is when they perceive that there are two standards: one set of rules for regular Americans, and a different set of rules if you are part of the political-connected class,” he continued. “That drives them crazy, and it should, because it goes right to the heart of what our country is about. It’s supposed to be equal treatment under the law regardless of station, regardless of status, regardless of type. But unfortunately we’re not seeing that, so I spend a fair amount of my time as your member of Congress on that issue: trying to hold people accountable who I think have done something wrong, and trying to get answers to questions that my constituents come up and ask me all the time.”
Jordan asked a series of questions about the Clinton campaign during the summer of 2016, including why FBI Director James Comey called the Clinton investigation a matter and not an investigation, and why Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix.
Near the end of the meeting, he also said that he enjoys working with President Donald Trump.
“Whatever you may think about the president, I like the guy,” he said. “I wish every single American – all 333 million of us – could get a chance to visit with him in person, because if you could you would like the guy. He has a charisma and energy about him that is unbelievable. You can tell when you’re around him he genuinely cares; he cares about our military, our law enforcement, our business owners. He does. And you may not always agree with some of his tactics, but I think he is genuinely trying to improve the country and move it in the right direction.”
Jordan told the Urbana Daily Citizen there has been zero evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to affect the election, although it may be obvious they did attempt to impact the election.
Jordan said he is concerned with the end of year spending bill, which he said will be too high. He added Democrats may try to attach an immigration bill, which he said would be disastrous. He said he was cautiously optimistic that Congress would pass a tax bill by the end of the calendar year and that it would be good for manufacturing.
Possible tax cut
“Revenue neutrality is Washington saying we’re going to keep the tax burden the same, we’re just going to shift around who pays what,” he said. “In that zero-sum game scenario, what always happens is the big corporate interests get a good deal, and middle class families get a bad deal, so it’s just a bad idea. Plus, it starts on the premise that somehow letting you keep your money is a cost to government. I just never adopted that premise; my premise is letting you keep more of your money is called freedom.”
Jordan called for a tax reform bill that cuts taxes, simplifies the tax code and promotes economic growth. He said there will be stronger growth under Trump.
He was critical of the Affordable Care Act and said that health care was the one place where politicians had forgotten what the marketplace looks like. He said the ACA was based on a lie, but that the process of repealing and replacing the ACA involved a lot of compromise between parties.
“Never forget what we were all told as Americans when this thing passed,” he said. “I call them the nine lies of Obamacare: ‘like your plan, keep your plan,’ ‘like your doctor, keep your doctor,’ ‘premiums are going to decline,’ the president told us premiums will decline $2,500, the president told us deductibles will go down. Remember when they told us the website was going to work? They told us at one time our information was secure. Then they told us these co-ops they created – they created 23 co-ops that only started three years ago – and only four are still in business … and then finally they told us that emergency room visits would also decline. So everything they told us was a lie.”
He suggested reforming welfare to give people a greater incentive to get back to work, and that federally-qualified health clinics in almost every community were still available for people to get health screenings.
Also on this visit, Jordan spoke to the Urbana’s Rotary Club and took a tour of Sarica Manufacturing and the Hall Company. He will next visit Urbana for a tour with some private business owners on Dec. 15.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304.
Information about business sponsorships is available by contacting the CEP at 937-653-7200 or email@example.com
“You can also keep up with the latest local economic development news on the CEP’s website, CEPOhio.com, by liking the CEP Facebook page, and by following the CEP on Twitter,” CEP Director Marcia Bailey said.
Job listings featured on the window monitor also can be viewed on CommunityJobConnect.com, the CEP’s local job posting and search website, available free of charge to local employers and job seekers. Employers can post local employment opportunities, and job seekers can apply and post their resumes.
Manairco Inc. (Manairco) and Hughey and Phillips LLC (H&P) announced that the companies entered into a definitive merger agreement under which H&P will acquire substantially all the assets of Manairco. Manairco is a well-established sales and manufacturing company with a reputation for excellence in the manufacture and design of airfield lighting systems and accessories. The company has a broad installed base throughout North America and across the globe. Manairco is an industry leader in both product quality and customer service.
Upon the closing of the merger transaction, Manairco’s product and service offerings will be added to the Hughey and Phillips product offerings and sold through the combined global sales force. Manairco’s existing operations and customer service will be maintained at its current manufacturing facility in Mansfield.
“Manairco has built exceptional relationships across the airfield lighting industry over the years with its broad product offerings and commitment to meeting the needs of its customers,” said Gayle Gorman-Green, president and CEO of Manairco. “We believe this merger represents an opportunity to combine the technical and customer service of the companies across a broader spectrum of customers and geographies. I look forward to continuing to lead the Manairco team at this exciting time.”
“We at Hughey and Phillips are delighted about this opportunity to work closely with Manairco’s strong team and its existing customers to bring customized solutions to the airfield lighting industry,” said Steve Schneider, president and CEO of Hughey and Phillips. “This partnership allows Hughey and Phillips to continue its expansion into the airfield lighting market by offering a combination of lighting and marking products as well as power management solutions for airports and heliports both large and small.”
About Hughey and Phillips LLC
Hughey and Phillips is one member of a conglomerate of companies serving the aviation, transportation, security and medical markets from its headquarters in Urbana, Ohio. H&P is a global leader in obstruction and airport products and has been serving the safety needs of the transportation industry since the 1930’s. H&P offers complete solutions for lighting systems designed and manufactured by H&P in the USA including strobe and LED offerings. The company has a full engineering staff providing complete support and design in optical, electrical and mechanical disciplines. Contact Hughey and Phillips at www.hugheyandphillips.com.
About Manairco Inc.
Manairco, a woman owned small business concern, has served the airport/heliport lighting market with quality, economical lighting equipment since 1955. Manairco offers a broad range of lighting and marking products as well as power management solutions for a variety of aviation applications. Contact Manairco at www.manairco.com.
Submitted by Hughey and Phillips, LLC.