From Ohio History Central
In 1893, several Ohio business owners established the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. This organization's founders hoped to unite business owners together to assist each other and also to lobby the state government to enact pro-business policies. During the late nineteenth century, business owners—especially factory owners—faced increasing opposition to their business methods and treatment of workers. Laborers formed unions, such as the Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor, and the United Mine Workers, to combat unsafe working conditions and limited wages. Smaller businesses also lobbied the federal and state governments for assistance with larger firms, like the Standard Oil Company, that could effectively reduce or eliminate competition. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce hoped to counteract these negative views of businesses by representing companies' interests to the Ohio government.
Since 1893, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has played a leading role in informing the government and private citizens of the needs and desires of businesses in Ohio. In 2004, more than 4,500 companies belonged to the organization. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce has traditionally opposed sales taxes, believing that these taxes deter consumers from purchasing products, and has called upon the state government to provide companies with various incentives to move to or to remain in Ohio.