An amendment that declared that the profits JobsOhio (aka RobsOhio) received state liquor sales is exempt from auditing by the State Auditor was quietly attached to a largely unrelated measure in a House committee today. Not only did the amendment coincidentially favor what Governor Kasich’s Administration wanted, but the House committee (in which Democrats, at least, had no notice of such an amendment) just happen to have some show up to testify in favor of the amendment. This just a few days after House Democrats introduced the JobsOhio Accountability Act, which the Administration dismissed by calling JobsOhio the “most transparent public company in Ohio,” whatever the hell that meant.
State Representative John Carney is one of the sponsors of the JobsOhio Accountability Act, and is expected to be a Democratic candidate for State Auditor.
“There was no ‘water into wine’ moment where Gov. Kasich blessed these state funds and made them private,” said state Rep. John Carney of Columbus. “As an entity that would not exist but for public funding, they should be subject to a full and public audit.”
Actually, today’s amendment would actually create, by law, such a water into wine, moment.
But here’s what Governor Kasich’s spokesman, Rob Nichols said in response:
“Sliding back into the same failed government-centric attempts that contributed to the loss of 400,000 jobs under the previous administration is the wrong answer,” he said in an email. “Ohio businesses have created more than 140,000 private sector jobs since January of 2011 because, among other reasons, job creators seeking to grow in Ohio have responded positively to JobsOhio’s private-sector approach.”
Look, I hate to be the logic professor here, but it’s quite a jump to say that Ohio’s created 140,000 private sector jobs since January 2011 BECAUSE of the lack of public transparency and accountability in JobsOhio. However, before you can make even that Evl Knievel-sized jump, you first have to establish that JobsOhio is, in fact, not actually a failure.
Over the last twelve-month period, Ohio ranks 47th in private sector job growth under JobsOhio. As Joe pointed out earlier, in 2012, the first year under RobsOhio, it reported being involved in less projects and creating less jobs than when Ohio was phasing out the “government-centric” process under the Ohio Department of Development in 2011. That’s on top of the fact that JobsOhio publicly has claimed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, that’s it not even focusing on bringing new jobs to Ohio. That’s why it claims to “retain” (i.e. subsidize already existing jobs) jobs for every “new” job it claims it has obtained pledges in return for aid at a stupidifying ratio of 9:1! In short, JobsOhio doesn’t think it’s “job” is to create new jobs, obviously.
In fact, while it is true Ohio created a little over 140,000 private sector jobs since January 2011, nearly 100,000 of those new jobs were gained in those first twelve months… which is before JobsOhio was “open for business”! In other words, Kasich is crediting JobsOhio with the creation of private sector jobs in which over 70% were already created before JobsOhio was up and running. Knowing these facts make it impossible for anyone to credible say that JobsOhio is working, let alone it working because of its utter lack of transparency and accountability.
And yet, today, a House committee voted on a
party-line largely party line to prevent JobsOhio’s use of profits it obtains from its public contracts to receive Ohio liquor profits from a public audit. JobsOhio isn’t get the jobs done. We know we’re not getting our monies worth from RobsOhio inflated salaries and office furniture spending binge. And its time we cracked open the secrecy and find out why. It’s time for darkness to be replaced with public accountability. Don’t Ohio’s unemployed families deserve no less, Governor?
[UPDATE:] As a sign of how quickly this new proposal is being railroaded today, in time it took me to write and post this item, the Ohio House of Representatives has already passed the legislation with the RobsOhio amendment by a vote of 61 to 34 this afternoon.
[UPDATE II:] An earlier draft said that the committee vote approving the amendment was strictly party-line. That was incorrect. It turns out both Chairman Terry Blair and Vice Chair Marlene Anielski voted against the amendment in committee, but it passed with the rest of the GOP support on the committee. We’ve corrected the post as indicated above and regret the error. Apparently, there was bipartisan opposition to Kasich’s RobsOhio amendment.