Can’t blame Governor John Kasich for trying, given his need to show he’s doing something productive when he’s not having art students redesign Ohio’s drivers license and plates.

The Dayton Daily News reports that Kasich is crediting his JobsOhio with “getting the State’s act together” and citing the spate of economic development announcements made since it was passed.

From January through October, JobsOhio has been related to 29 projects in the Cincinnati region that created or retained 3,772 jobs and generated $175 million in capital investment, according to Marlon Cheatham, JobsOhio spokesman. A list of all 29 projects was not made available.

It’s pretty remarkable that JobsOhio could be tied to projects in January, what with it not even existing at the time and all.   By late January, the bill was still being heard by the House committee.  It hadn’t even passed the full House yet.

Other deals hashed this year by JobsOhio include an incentive package worth $93.5 million for American Greetings not to move from the Cleveland area; a $17.4 million package for Bob Evans Restaurants to move its headquarters from the south side of Columbus to New Albany; and a $56 million package to Canton-based Diebold Corp. to keep that company from moving.

Again, that’s remarkable for JobsOhio to get credit since the Ohio Department of Development was given the credit at the time.  At the time the Bob Evans deal was announced, JobsOhio had zero employees.  Same thing with Diebold and American Greetings.   In fact, it was the “success” of these achievements that lead the Columbus Dispatch  to point out that these successes raise the question of the need for JobsOhio.

And let’s not forget that JobsOhio has no actual legislative authority.  That was intended to be given in a second round of legislation (JobsOhio II) that was supposed to delineate what activities by the Ohio Department of Development would be transferred to JobsOhio.  The transfer of duties from the Ohio Department of Development to JobsOhio has not occurred.  In fact, I’m not sure, but I don’t think there’s even a bill introduced yet.

JobsOhio is not yet fully operational, having not yet lined up future funding from the state’s wholesale liquor profits or its contract for job creation from Ohio Department of Development, Cheatham said. The Department of Development still has approval over incentives, [JobsOhio spokesman Marlon] Cheatham said.

So far, JobsOhio has hired up to about 13 people, Cheatham said. That includes three general managers each responsible for one or two of the total nine industry clusters identified as the state’s strengths. Jobs Ohio will hire a total six general managers, he said.

When JobsOhio is fully staffed, Cheatham said it will have 50 to 60 people working for it.

So JobsOhio is largely unstaffed and has no legal authority to make deals.  And yet, Kasich is trying to already call it a success.  But even Kasich’s spokesman admits that some of these expansions may have occurred without any assistance from the State whatsoever.

Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesman, also said it can’t be said for sure that businesses would have invested without the incentives, but there were individual cases of companies entertaining offers from out of state.

And yet we know that Bob Evans, one of the retention success stories, had no offer from out of the State for its expensive move from Columbus to New Albany.  We should know, we got it from the agency responsible for the aid package: the Ohio Department of Development.

Then, as we’ve pointed out, Kasich’s claim of over 40k new jobs this year (which he attributes to JobsOhio), doesn’t sound that impressive when you realize how many jobs were created last year as the recession ended:

From January through October of this year, Ohio gained 40,600 jobs, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. For the same time last year, Ohio gained 36,700 jobs.

[UPDATE:]  Upon further reflection, I realize that this stat is just as misleading as Kasich’s claiming JobsOhio was responsible for economic development projects announced in January when JobsOhio legislation hadn’t even passed yet.  In fact, for much of the same reason.  First, most of the 40,600 jobs that have been created this year were done so without the assistance of either the Ohio Department of Development or JobsOhio.  Second, most of the 40,600 jobs Kasich claims that have been created since January were created in February, March, and April.  In other words, most of the jobs were created during a time when JobsOhio’s legislation was still under consideration and before JobsOhio had a Board of Directors named, had a budget, had any staff, or even had Mark Kvamme officially working there.  In fact, if you assume (as Kasich insists people do) that there’s a correlation at all between the development of JobsOhio and job creation in Ohio, then the only correlation the data would support is a negative one because Ohio has started to lose jobs the more JobsOhio has actually started operating.  But to be fair, I don’t think there’s any correlation between JobsOhio and job creation at all .  My point is that when you look at when during the year the jobs have been created (before the last two months in which the State actually lost jobs), it’s hard to make that data square with Kasich’s assertion that JobsOhio has already proven to be a success since most of the jobs were already created when JobsOhio was still in the planning stage.

Kasich’s pathological need to lie to tout his achievements exists largely because the truth doesn’t work.  For the Kasich Administration to give credit to JobsOhio for things that occurred before it even existed and when it has no real legal authority and has as much as 88% of its positions unstaffed is just an incredible sight to see.

It’s so outrageous that while the Dayton Daily News caught the lack of staffing and legislative authority, they didn’t catch that the Administration is giving JobsOhio credit for things that occurred that were, in fact, achievements by the Ohio Department of Development.  Kasich’s tale of JobsOhio is so filled with lies and misrepresentations, the media cannot even catch them all.

 

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