I’m sorry, I just cannot get over the sheer stupidity of the Kasich Administration and most of the Republicans in the General Assembly over this RobsOhio public audit ban.  I mean, first of all, the media has not adequately pointed out that it is the first time in Ohio history the legislature intervened to terminate what was already an ongoing public audit.

But every time I hear the Administration and its supporters justify this, I try to bang my head against the wall until it makes sense.  That hasn’t worked, so I’m trying copious amounts of bourbon now.  This graf from today’s Columbus Dispatch is a prime example:

Kasich and JobsOhio supporters counter that such scrutiny could chill business relationships with the state and harm other agreements, such as [sic] Ohio State University’s leasing of its parking system.

polls_lawyers_4448_219780_poll_xlargeI’m going to give a pro-tip to both John Kasich and The Ohio State University (because apparently, it’s President is too preoccupied apologizing for saying Catholics “can’t be trusted”) should know, but apparently don’t.  If you’re about to hand off a lucrative contract worth, say millions of dollars, but one of the sticking points is that the party receiving the money doesn’t want its use of the funds to be publicly audited… YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T HAND OVER MONEY TO THAT BUSINESS.

And let’s be clear about what the law was before this amendment.  All the law stated is that the State Auditor had the discretionary authority to conduct public audits if the office so desired, it did not require it and plenty of private contracts with State money are never audited.  So if the small risk that such a contract might be audited is dissuading certain companies, isn’t that a sign that threat of public auditing is a good deterrence?  Apparently not in Kasich’s thinking, he views that as sign as we should get rid of the safeguards.

But here’s the problem with Kasich’s argument, JobsOhio has been in operation for over two years under this “no public transparency rule” that Kasich argued was necessary to encourage businesses to seek JobsOhio’s assistance that they would not do under the more public Ohio Department of Development model.  And yet, as we’ve pointed out, JobsOhio has done less projects with fewer jobs than in the last year of the Development model in 2011.  In fact, it’s on pace to do substantially less this year, according to the first quarterly report.   JobsOhio says it’s because the economy is slowing down, but that’s demonstratively false.  In fact, nationally, the economy is picking up steam.  So Kasich’s argument would seem to be refuted by JobsOhio’s own data.  So perhaps that’s a faulty assumption to justify carving out an organization that already can doled out millions of dollars in secret from public auditing.

What Kasich is basically doing is the equivalent of requiring banks to remove video cameras because “some segments” of society don’t like the idea that anything they do in a bank is being recorded.  Yes, some of those people are people like me who are private people who don’t really enjoy knowing everything they do is being watched or recorded on film.  But there’s another group of people who don’t like cameras in banks: the people who rob them.  Same thing applies to audits.  We can’t just ban audits because it makes some people uncomfortable because there are some people who we want to be uncomfortable by that deterrance.

And what the Kasich Administration has refused to explain is why, under their own proposal, if a private audit uncovers wrongdoing by JobsOhio or its recipients of its corporate aid, why in the bloody hell does JobsOhio enjoy the benefit of that being kept from the public, too?  Does the public really have no right to know, by independent means, whether JobsOhio is acting appropriately?  That’s crazy.  No, I’m sorry, in a few moments, that’ll be the law of Ohio.

 
  • jr6020

    Modern, let’s talk about the ramifications of this JobsOhio law. I can’t help believing some liberal groups out there will want to start a petition drive to overturn it. But I am most suspicious of the politicians. Want to bet the bigwigs of both parties have already (secretly) agreed not to challenge it; either thru referendum or court? In exchange, the GOP will keep hands off Collective Bargaining and take no part in any Right To Work ballot initiative? Tell me I’m wrong…James, Cols

  • dmoore2222

    Good thinking, jr6020. Really, we only see what the kabuki theater wants us to see.

  • dmoore2222

    This is a classic case of “the ends justify the means”, an ethical dilemma that unethical people just don’t get. Let’s call it what it is, a freakin slush fund that Kasich and company can tap into for influence pedalling. Ethics and legality aside, their problem is, as you point out, the “ends” are unremarkable. So Ohio taxpayers are financing an ineffective job creation process that is at the same time an incubator for corruption and scandal. No. John, the Lehman Bros. hack, could never see the folly in this because he’s fundementally corrupt.

  • RJKIN

    The JobsOhio money is “our” money (yep, yours and mine). You paid it and will to continue to pay it. If you don’t, you will likely be subject to an audit. Now, the Kasich administration has determined that you are not special enough to know where your money will go. You will not be privy how it is spent, if it will serve any public service or if it is given away based upon any sense of fairness or equity. The Kasich folks are granting themselves the exclusive right to take your money from you, give it away to others they selectively choose . . . in secret and in amounts that will remain secret from you and your fellow Ohio citizens. The Kasich group tells the people to “trust them”; that they must do this because corporate America won’t play with Ohio if these corporations have to follow the rules that all other Ohio citizens must follow . . . corporations and JobsOhio employees are very special, after all. Kasich et al tell us that if we don’t do what the ‘very special” corporate titans and JobsOhio super heros want us to do companies will take their jobs and play elsewhere. Oh, by the way, if they do keep jobs here or add a few, they only want to do so if Ohio is (ahem) a Right to Work state. Now, keep in mind, for decades Ohio was a national leader in job creation under the laws that existed (and existed for good reasons). Those were the days when state economic development employees worked for the citizens of Ohio (they were public servants who put the Ohio citizens first). They worked with corporations we knew we could trust because those same corporations trusted and abided by our laws. Odd isn’t it that that that is no longer the case.

  • dmoore2222

    This is the priviledged political class at work. These are people who are convinced they know better than the rest of us and the laws that were created to prevent corruption stand in the way of progress. They make big promises of jobs and prosperity for Ohioans when what they’re really doing is further positioning themselves for economic benefit either while in office or afterwards. They’re the first to cry socialism when a hungry inner city kid gets a free lunch but never think twice about handing over millions of taxpayer dollars to status quo companies like American Greetings, Diebold or Bob Evans. This is such an obvious boondoggle that it’s almost laughable.

  • Ramona Hauenstein

    Maybe. But I think the Republicans want to get rid of collective bargaining, get right to work and abortion banned so badly, I doubt they would agree to that. They can block any audit they want except federal. They are just waiting for the 2014 elections. If they win, it’s Nelly bar the door.

  • dmoore2222

    Sunday’s Dispatch is even warns of the temptation of all that money sitting around with no one watching. Even THEY think it’s a bad idea.

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