By a vote of 59-38, a strict party-line vote, the Ohio House of Representatives passed Am. Sub. H.B. 1 to create Kasich’s
JobsOhioRobsOhio—the privatization of the Ohio Department of Development. The bill goes to the Senate for a mockery of committee hearings and quick party-line vote passage.
Technical difficulties plagued my ability to watch the debate but by a strict party-line vote the Republican majority defeated every amendment (all of which were offered by Democrats) to improve the accountability, transparency, and ethical safeguards of the bill.
House Republican after Republican claimed it was false to suggest that RobsOhio would potentially allow $1 billion in State taxpayer economic development assistance to pass through secretly, claiming that the bill only appropriated $1 million to the newly created agency. As if that’s all the taxpayer money RobsOhio will be appropriated (that $1 million actually comes from the current budget passed under Governor Strickland.)
The Democrats not only criticized the bill on transparency but pointed out the lack of such private entities working in Florida, Michigan, and Indiana. The Republicans seemingly acknowledged that it was a risky plan, but basically said they saw no other option than to go through with it. I didn’t see a single Republican make the case that these entities have worked on a statewide level. Basically, they passed this, crossed their fingers, and are hoping for the best.
House Minority Leader Budish gave an impassioned speech against the bill. Start the video clip at 25:00 mark roughly to watch the entire debate and House floor amendment process.
Ironically, the very Democratic amendments that were rejected today were rejected in the committee process. At the time, the Republicans said that they should be rejected for now but would be considered later. Today, they were rejected because… they were rejected in the committee.
The House State Government Chairman suggested that House Finance Amstutz was generous in allowing the same opponents who testify in his comment as who testified in the State Government Committee.
Given that I was the only person who testified in opposition to the bill in the House Finance Committee, I found that an interesting claims because I was unaware that I apparently had already testified against the bill in the other committee.
The proponents of the bill suggested that the opponents of the bill were grandstanding for the Ohio media and engaged in hyperbole over the system. Seriously.