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Today, Governor Kasich called a press conference billed as revealing the details of his “JobsOhio” plan.  However, the legislators there admitted that a draft of legislation isn’t ready yet, but they’re going to hold hearings on it next week with the goal to have the legislation (which—again—doesn’t even exist in draft form yet) passed the Ohio House of Representatives in two to three weeks.

The Governor’s office issued a “Fact Sheet” about JobsOhio that was ironically short on any relevant facts about why Ohio needs to privatize its economic development efforts for any other reason than Kasich campaigned on it.  For example, Kasich mentions Ohio’s ranking on business tax climate by the conservative think-tank Tax Foundation.  Will JobsOhio affect Ohio’s business tax climate?  Not at all.  Not even Kasich could claim it does.

(Source: Marc Kovac from Ohio Capitol Blog)

Kasich, laughably, told the Columbus Dispatch’s Joe Hallet at the press conference that he is all about transparency.  This on the same day his Administration admits it still cannot or will not produce all resumes the Administration has in its possession for consideration for jobs and appointments.

Kasich then said that the JobsOhio Board would write its own Code of Ethics that would be patterned off of the ethical rules for university trustees.

See Kasich at 8:00 minutes talk about Ohio being one of only five States yet to do this:

FACTCHECK:  According to a study by Good Jobs First that we discussed last week, only seven states currently have a private economic entity like Kasich is proposing.  The Governor was only off by thirty-eight States.

Speaking of the Good Jobs First study, not one reporter asked Kasich about it.  Not one question about its conclusions.  Not one question asking Kasich how he can be sure that Ohio’s unemployment picture will improve as a result of JobsOhio when nearby Michigan has the second highest unemployment in the nation despite having an entity exactly like JobsOhio?  Or what about Florida which has substantially higher unemployment than Ohio, as well, despite being a State with a JobsOhio-type organization (oldest one in the country, in fact.)  Nor did any reporter ask Kasich (or his California venture capitalist) if these private entities are so great, why did States like California and West Virginia switch back to a public entity.

As for Governor Kasich’s claim that his JobsOhio could become self-sustaining, Indiana’s Economic Development Corporation—which Kasich often cites as a model for his JobsOhio—reported in its most recent annual report (2009) that it raised… less than $849,237 from the private sector to fund their operations and programs.  Ohio’s Department of Development spends over $327 million in economic development alone last year.  Michigan’s Economic Development Corporation appears to still not be self-funding.  Florida’s corporation, Enterprise Florida, still relies on state funding.

So, a quick survey shows that Kasich is either overly optimistic or poorly informed as to these agencies.  None of them have become self-funding with only private funds.

But Kasich honestly thinks that the ethical questions presenting in his JobsOhio plan… if he promises the Board will draft their own Code of Ethics.  Yes, nothing like letting the people we have a concern may have an ethical conflict set their own ethical rules…

On a side note, Kasich’s press release states that the “salaries” of all employees of JobsOhio.  The Governor also was very specific to use the term salary during his press conference.  This could be a potential weasel word because “salary” is not the same thing as “compensation.”  Kasich has mentioned during the campaign that he intended to pay JobsOhio staff performance-based bonuses (as if the history of corporate economic development offices weren’t enough to indicate a tendency of his agency to inflate their performance).  I’ll be looking at the language of the statute on this front very closely… just as soon as the Republicans actually write a bill.

But you’d think the Party of Coingate would be more gun shy about something like this, don’t you?!?

 

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