In a victory for the city and the state, Pure Romance has announced that they will move forward with a relocation to downtown Cincinnati, despite being rejected for tax credits by a prudish Kasich administration.
The company has outgrown their suburban warehouse facilities and is looking to expand operations. They were initially approved for $108,000 in incentives from Ohio to match $353,000 from Cincinnati, but JobsOhio nixed the deal when they found out that Pure Romance markets relationship enhancements to women.
The new management positions, according to the Enquirer, will pay 41% more than the average job subsidized by JobsOhio.
First, allow a Cincinnati boy to run a victory lap. Pure Romance was courted by Florida, Kentucky, and other states to move their headquarters. As CEO Chris Cicchinelli explained the decision,
It didn’t come down to the government, it came down to being a good fit in the community.
Si Leis is rolling in his grave1.
Progressives in Cincinnati have fought for decades to turn this city into a vibrant, pluralistic community that welcomes everyone. The decision by Pure Romance, and their treatment by city leaders, is a huge signal that we’ve won2.
Urbanists have fought for a decade to use downtown public investment as a way to jumpstart private investment. The relocation of Pure Romance–indeed, the construction of the new building that they’ll occupy–is what a downtown streetcar was intended to achieve. Without even being open, it’s already working.
Now, what does this say about state-level policy?
Kasich’s mouthpiece had the balls to take credit for the move.
Ohio’s jobs-friendly climate makes the decision to stay here, grow here, and relocate here an easy one for virtually any business.
Why bother with JobsOhio, then?
If companies are primarily interested with the culture and infrastructure that a community can provide to its prospective employees, why are we spending all this money on a leaky black box that has created jobs more slowly than Gov. Strickland’s administration?
This move should be a major blow to Kasich’s ideology. Small government doesn’t create a climate that appeals to business; local government is responsible for the spaces that appeal to business.
It’s time to demand evidence that JobsOhio’s giveaways to Kasich donors have created any jobs. After all, their politically-motivated refusal didn’t send them away.
UPDATE: Always check the Business Courier before posting news about Cincinnati! The city doubled the period of its income tax credits in exchange for Pure Romance agreeing to stay downtown for twice as long (20 years).
Perhaps tax credits are an essential negotiating tool. The point remains that this deal happened in spite of Kasich.
1 “Simon Leis isn’t dead,” you say. Say I: has anybody ever checked him for a pulse?
2 See also: Washington Park.
Let’s stop electing people who say “Cincinnati can’t build amenities that appeal to West Side Catholics and African-Americans, so we shouldn’t try.”
They have been proven wrong.