See, related posts:
- John Kasich’s plan means Ohio would be copying off of… MICHIGAN?!?
- Florida privatized economic development efforts. It didn’t turn out so well.
Earlier this week, John Kasich announced his JobOhio plan. Expected supporters like Matt Naugle and Scott Pullins went from incredible optimism to downright ridiculing it within hours of introductions.
Today, the editorial board of the Akron Beacon Journal offers the first editorial in Ohio on it. Let’s just say they’re skeptical:
The Kasich plan calls for a ”fast, flexible and responsive” operation. Akron knows what he means. In recent years, the [Ohio Department of Development] has displayed all three traits in helping the city retain two indispensable corporate citizens, Bridgestone and Goodyear.
Kasich must describe more fully what he intends. He must overcome suspicions that his thinking is more ideological than practical, more playing to anger about government than solving a problem. Ohioans and others have learned in recent years that the private sector hardly is infallible.
Ever since James Rhodes (Republican) created the development department, the office has been driven (to lesser and greater degrees) to meet the needs of business. Now Kasich would diminish the public role. That invites questions about accountability, worries about misplaced priorities, private ambitions fueled by public dollars. What would be the mechanism for oversight? To prevent favoritism?
Public officials bring a key perspective to the discussion. Business executives have a narrower, albeit essential, focus on the performance of enterprises. Their public counterparts have the task of advancing the interests of the state as a whole.
Of particular concern are the disparaging words that Kasich has hurled toward the Third Frontier project, one of the signal accomplishments for the state the past decade. Kasich talks about privatizing its operation, giving business interests more sway in the use of public money. The indications are: He doesn’t get it. Third Frontier money is distributed via a competitive process, experts in the field assessing the quality of the projects. Businesses and universities collaborate, as they must. Why attempt to overhaul something that works? That’s yet another question prompted by the Kasich plan.
When you’re running on a platform promising economic recovery and one of the the major papers writes that you just don’t “get it,” you’re not doing a good job of selling your proposals.
In fact, House Minority Leader Bill Batchelder, who was present at Kasich’s announcement, was quick to offer that his legislative caucus would have to conduct hearings to determine if Kasich’s proposal was even legal or constitutional. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement from the low hanging fruit of the House GOP leader.
The one issue that nobody (but this site) has looked at is whether there’s any evidence such a plan would actually improve the State’s ability to foster economic development. As the prior posts indicated, not so much.
Nevada has the Nevada Development Authority, a non-profit of business execs focusing on developing Southern Nevada, and the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, a committee consisting of the Governor and various business leaders in that State. Both are taking the approach advocated by Congressman Kasich.
How’s Nevada doing?
Nevada is 51st out 51 on unemployment. Again, this just shows that different isn’t always better. The ABJ notes that despite whatever problems exist in the Ohio Department of Development, Lee Fisher and Gov. Strickland have made it a better agency.
Some day, I hope the Kasich campaign proposes one economy policy idea that isn’t already been tried in a State with unemployment worse than Ohio’s.
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