When John Kasich and Mark Kvamme created JobsOhio back in 2011, they promised us the world! JobsOhio would be given all of Ohio’s liquor profits for 25 years, over six billion dollars in total, and it would be freed from the burden and constraint of government oversight, public record disclosure and public audits. JobsOhio would then be able to move at the “speed of business” to kick the collective asses of all of our neighboring states, and the rest of the country, stimulating job growth and getting Ohioans back to work after the recession that started in 2007.
Sadly for Ohio, Kasich’s JobsOhio scheme doesn’t appear to be working as planned.
As the Plain Dealer pointed out on Monday, Ohio is lagging far behind the rest of the country in job growth. While the U.S. has regained all of the jobs lost during the great recession, economists calculate that Ohio is still down 139,900 jobs from our pre-recession peak. As Cleveland economist George Zeller points out, Ohio’s job growth has lagged the U.S. average for almost 20 months in a row. “In 2014, the gap each month is getting wider between the growth rate in the country and in Ohio,” Zeller told the Plain Dealer. Zeller points to the fact that Ohio had 0.77 percent job growth rate in May vs. 1.75 percent nationwide.
The Toledo Blade also took Kasich to task yesterday for trying to spin Ohio’s poor job numbers in his favor, pointing out that Ohio’s economic recovery actually began under Governor Strickland, not under Kasich, and as we’ve pointed out in the past, job growth in Ohio has actually slowed since JobsOhio took over economic development activities for the state. Kind of makes you wonder what JobsOhio employees were doing to earn the $1.8 million they were paid in salaries for the last six months of 2013. A tweet sent last night from JobsOhio’s official Twitter account, WhyOhio, may provide some insight:
The tweet was quickly deleted, but not before catching the attention of some of Ohio’s political tweeters. “I’m wondering if they’ve confused their high scores with jobs numbers,” responded ODP Deputy Communications Director Brian Hester. “There was more clarity in that tweet than in Jobs Ohio’s quarterly reports,” wrote Ohio Hardball. “I’m sure Kasich will take credit for this as well,” tweeted Nick Buis, Ed FitzGerald’s campaign manager.
The JobsOhio tweet was posted around 7:30PM yesterday from, what we can assume, is an iPad or other mobile device paid for by JobsOhio. If this had happened with a state employee on a state-owned device, all hell would be breaking loose trying to find out if the game was paid for by the agency and if the phone was being used for gaming during work hours. But I’m guessing Kasich’s pal Tom Charles, the former IG and public safety director who has been “tasked with monitoring ethics” at JobsOhio, will probably let this one slide.