Last week, JobsOhio unveiled a request for bids for full-service marketing firms to market the State of Ohio to the nation with an estimated initial budget of $2 million. Here’s how JobsOhio describes the aims of the marketing:
Key Objectives/Scope of Work
— Support the state of Ohio’s key industry sectors, and if possible, improve upon the false perception that Ohio is a non-innovative, non-business friendly and rust belt state. (Background information on current marketing efforts can be found at www.ohiomeansbusiness.com and www.jobs-ohio.com.)
Gee, I wonder where Ohio got that reputation from?
Could it be from folks like the Buckeye Institute and John Kasich who spent much of last year using questionable, biased “rankings” of Ohio’s tax climate from anti-progressive tax organizations like the conservative Tax Foundation to suggest that Ohio is hostile for business? Or how John Kasich has talked about Ohio’s regulatory environment is hostile to business, thus necessitating the need for Lt. Governor Mary Taylor to run the “Common Sense Initiative” (“CSI”) to reform Ohio’s regulatory environment to be more friendly for business. Incidentially, do you know what Mary Taylor calls the achievements of CSI so far? A bill that changed Ohio’s liquor laws so that food manufacturers can buy liquor in bulk for their manufacturing and a change that allows any person who graduated from an Ohio high school to pay in-state tuition rates at Ohio’s public colleges and universities, even after they have moved out of the State. That’s it. (Neither of which, I believe, was an actual regulation, but a statuory law.)
$2 million in taxpayer money to try to convince the nation that all of Kasich’s anti-Ohio rhetoric about how we’ve been just horrible to the business community here is not true. This isn’t to tout what Kasich has done to change Ohio, but to challenge what JobsOhio freely admits is a “false impression” that Ohio’s regulatory, taxes, and laws are anti-business.
And, of course, it’s false. The Republicans have had a near lock on the governor’s office and state legislature for sixteen years before Governor Strickland came down, and he had a divided legislature for most of his term. It’s simply laughable to suggest that the problem in Ohio government has been that it’s just not been business friendly enough. And yet, JobsOhio believes that in order to recruit companies to relocate here, we first have to tell the nation that the impression John Kasich has made about Ohio isn’t true.
This is coming from the collective decision made by folks like Mark Kvamme, one of Kasich’s close friends and top political donors and the corporate board of JobsOhio that John Kasich hand picked. And one of the first tasks they’ve identified is the need to spend $2 million telling the nation that John Kasich has lied about Ohio’s business environment. I’ve never seen anything like this.