Advocacy

The Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® has long committed staff and resources for governmental affairs. We believe advocacy and lobby efforts are essential to protecting our profession and the environment in which we work in.

While our staff and committed volunteers do a superb job of keeping track of upcoming legislation that may affect the real estate industry, we occasionally receive tips from members who are not generally involved with our government affairs activities but have encountered issues that need to be addressed by ACAR.

If you encounter legislation that could possibly affect our industry, whether good or bad, please contact our Government Affairs Department.

Issues & Legislative News ACAR on the Issues Report a Problem

REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC)

Financial Incentives

County and City Programs

GrowNOW

Growing Ohio Small Business NOW

GrowNOW gives small business owners a three percent reduction on their bank loan rates, saving upwards of $24,000 over two years!

How do I qualify?

Eligible business must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have less than 150 employees
  2. Be organized for profit
  3. Have offices and operating facilities in Ohio
  4. The majority of employees must be Ohio residents

What is the process?

  1. The small business owner applies for a bank loan at an eligible institution.
  2. The bank approves the loan and establishes an interest rate with applicant.
  3. The bank and small business owner apply for GrowNOW interest rate reduction.
  4. If approved, the Ohio Treasury places a certificate of deposit with the bank at a three percent reduced interest rate.
  5. The bank agrees to pass along the interest savings to the small business owner’s loan.

What do I do first?

  1. Visit our website (http://www.tos.ohio.gov/grownow) to find a list of eligible participating banks.
  2. Obtain a small business loan from the bank and establish an interest rate with the lender.
  3. Complete an easy GrowNOW online application with your lender at http://www.tos.ohio.gov/grownow. Paper applications are also available.
  4. Create or save one full-time job or two part-time jobs for every $50,000 borrowed, up to $400,000.

Questions? Please contact Brittany Williams with the Department of Economic Development at (614) 752-8108 or Brittany.Williams@tos.ohio.gov.

You might also be interested in Re-Energize Ohio, which offers up to a 3% interest rate reduction on new or existing small business loans. Small Businesses may apply the interest rate reduction on up to $550,000 of a new or existing loan for four years. For more information on the application process and program requirements, please call 800-228-1102.

Ag-LINK

Agricultural Linked Deposit Program

The Ag-LINK program provides reduced-rate financing to Ohio farmers to help offset the high cost of annual operating funds.

How do I qualify?

Eligible recipients must meet the following criteria:

  1. Organized for profit
  2. Headquarters and 51% of operations are maintained in Ohio
  3. Obtained an operating loan from an eligible lending institution
  4. Agree to comply with all monitoring efforts of the Ohio Treasurer of State

What is the process?

  1. Farmers apply and are approved for a loan up to a maximum of $150,000 through the Farm Credit System or an eligible State Depository Bank.
  2. Farmers fill out an Ag-LINK application documenting their need for a reduced interest rate and submit it to their lender by mid-March.
  3. Applications are reviewed by the lender and sent to the Ohio Treasurer of State for final approval by mid-April.
  4. If accepted, the Ohio Treasurer purchases a certificate of deposit at a reduced rate from the lender for one year who in turn lowers the rate being given to the farmer.

What do I do first?

  1. Visit http://www.tos.ohio.gov/aglink to find a list of participating banks and review the application schedule.
  2. Obtain a loan from the Farm Credit system or an eligible State Depository bank.
  3. Complete an easy Ag-LINK application and submit it to your lender

ECO-Link

Energy Conservation for Ohioans Linked Deposit Program

Overview:

The Energy Conservation for Ohioans (ECO-Link) program is designed to provide reduced rate financing through partnering banks for Ohioans completing weatherization improvements and installing energy efficient products in their homes. ECO-Link provides the powerful lending resources needed to allow homeowners to realize the savings from energy efficient products, enjoy a more comfortable home, and help Ohio emerge as a leader in the developing green economy.

Benefits:

  • Homeowners receive a 3% interest rate reduction on qualifying bank loans for 5 years
  • Homeowners typically realize between 10-30% savings on utility bills when installing energy efficient products.
  • Most energy efficient improvements qualify homeowners for federal tax credits and additional rebates.

Eligibility:

  • Ohioans who are owners of an existing single family home or condo
  • Ohioans who are approved by eligible banks for qualifying loans.
  • Ohioans making energy efficient improvements to their home using Energy Star rated products.
  • Ohioans using Building Performance Institute (BPI) or Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET) contractors certified to perform weatherization installations.

High Level Program Steps:

  1. Borrower receives preapproval for a qualifying loan with an eligible bank
  2. Borrower receives a home performance audit from a certified contractor
  3. Borrower and Lender submit the audit and ECO-Link application to the Treasury
  4. Treasury notifies the Lender upon approval of the application
  5. Borrower works with the contractor to complete the energy efficient improvements
  6. Once complete, the Borrower submits a certificate of project completion to the Lender and Treasury
  7. Upon receipt the Treasury will place a certificate of deposit with the bank that will lower the Borrower’s interest rate by 3% for the life of the 5 year loan.

For additional questions please contact the Economic Development at 614-728-7774 or email at ecolink@tos.ohio.gov

SaveNOW

SaveNOW Fact Sheet

It pays to SaveNOW, a higher interest savings account which rewards savers with a 3.00% interest rate bonus. SaveNOW makes saving easy and gives Ohioans an incentive to save. The program allows individuals the opportunity to build their financial safety net, while gaining financial education.

How does SaveNOW work?

The Treasury places a deposit at the participating bank. Individuals enroll into the program by completing an application and opening a SaveNOW account at the bank. Next, the saver can begin building the balance in their new account. Within 60 days of opening the account the saver will receive a welcome letter from the Ohio Treasury. The SaveNOW program lasts for 12 months and after completion the saver will no longer receive 3.00%. However, the interest rate will revert to the standard rate at the bank. To get a list of participating banks, please view our website (below).

What are the requirements for a SaveNOW account?

  • Each individual must be an Ohio resident
  • One account per person is permitted and you can only participate once every other year
  • The individual must have an e-mail address
  • There is no age requirement to participate. However, certain restrictions may apply for custodial accounts at each participating bank. Savers must follow the banks custodial accounts rules and regulations
  • Is an interest-bearing saving account
  • Carries no fees, no minimum deposit or balance
  • Single deposits are limited to $500 at a time with the exception of lump sum payments, such as a tax return, insurance settlement or inheritance payment
  • The maximum account balance for which the 3.00% interest rate may be earned is $5,000. Contributions greater than $5,000 will receive an interest rate determined by the bank

How does the financial education program and bonus work?

  • Throughout the one year period, savers will receive and review financial education newsletters
  • Approximately 10 months after opening your SaveNOW account, the saver receives a “then and now,” financial literacy assessment survey. The SaveNOW survey MUST be completed in order to receive the interest rate bonus The Ohio Treasurer determines whether you have met the program requirements and notifies the bank to apply 3% interest directly to the account
  • The interest amount will be credited to the savers account approximately in the 13th month (from opening the account) and will be calculated from the savers average daily balance

For questions, please visit http://www.tos.ohio.gov/savenow or contact the Ohio Treasurer’s office at (614) 466-6546 or (800) 228-1102.