Two days ago, I wrote about video that OhioCapitolBlog captured of Congressman Kasich promising undiscloseable bonuses he plans on offering to the corporate executives who sit on the board of his JobsOhio plan who will, in part, be asked to lobby the Administration on regulatory and legislative matters:
Today, the Ohio House Democratic Caucus issued this press release where two Democratic lawmakers criticized Kasich’s non-transparent plan to privatize Ohio’s economic development:
“The middle class in Ohio has been railroaded by Wall Street fat cats who took bailouts and raked in bonuses while the rest of us struggled,” said Hagan. “Now, after trying to fight our way out of this national recession, John Kasich wants to give taxpayer-funded bonuses to well-connected, well-heeled corporate executives.”
On Tuesday, Kasich announced that if elected governor, he would outsource Ohio’s economic development efforts to a not-for-profit, private board made up of CEOs. While there were few details about the plan, Kasich was clear on one thing: he would ensure that corporate executives serving on this board would be entitled to get a bonus if they deserve it. He also clearly stated that “we will not require them to disclose their bonuses.”
“We’re sick of corporate bailouts and taxpayer-funded bonuses to Wall Street executives and we won’t stand for a continuation of the same dumb policies that got us into this mess in the first place,” said Foley. “It’s not right that middle-class Ohioans should be expected to subsidize a select few corporate executives who wouldn’t be accountable to the people and wouldn’t be required to disclose their bonuses.”
In assuming the role of the Ohio Department of Development, this new organization could be responsible for awarding public money in the form of tax credits and various taxpayer-funded development grants. This would mean that executives would either get bonuses directly from the taxpayers or would be awarded bonuses for handing out public money to other corporate executives.
“Whether this is set up as a private organization or some quasi-government corporation, it would clearly rely on public funding and public support, otherwise these exact functions could already be done by the private sector,” said Foley. “Frankly, the overall plan seems ill-conceived and raises serious ethical and constitutional questions, but using public resources to give big payouts to private executives is flat out wrong.”
“Giving public resources to private executives, who will simply enrich themselves and their friends, should be widely opposed by Ohioans from both political parties,” said Hagan. “In fact, we hope that hard-working Ohioans from across the political spectrum, including TEA Party members and anyone else who opposes this nonsense will stand up and speak out.”
If Kasich intended this to be a major, serious proposal, he’s not followed the usual game plan for such a proposal. Usually, you see a bevy of your party’s state lawmakers lining up to applaud it.
In this case, Kasich got Senate Senator Mark Wagoner to endorse it and House Minority Leader Bill Batchelder at the event to question whether it’s even constitutional.
Where’s the OhioJobs tour? In fact, where’s Kasich been since Tuesday except on Fox News where he spent almost the entire segment talking about President Obama’s visit and the importance of Ohio in presidential elections and that’s why people should donate his campaign… then denied to O’Reilly that he’s campaigning against either President Obama or Governor Strickland (which is news to the campaign’s official webmaster, apparently):
I didn’t catch Kasich mention either OhioJobs or his tax repeals. On FoxNews, John Kasich still won’t defend his own policy proposals!
The Columbus Dispatch’s Randy Ludlow, copying almost verbatim without attribution a post by conservative lawyer Scott Pullins, notes that Kasich’s promise of giving his out-of-state corporate CEO’s “secret” bonuses with taxpayer dollars goes against the most basic concept of government transparency imaginable and is, in all likelihood, illegal.
As I noted earlier today, the Akron Beacon Journal has expressed its own skepticism and criticisms of the plan. And what’s the Kasich campaign saying in response? Nothing. Two days later, and it’s like they’ve already forgotten about JobsOhio.
And to think that the media has yet to report that a similar program in Michigan gave over $9 million to a convicted embezzler still on parole and living out of a trailer.