First, Ohio Auditor David Yost presented a compelling — and successful — argument that JobsOhio, the so-called private economic development agency, must be audited like any other public agency because it received more than $5 million in taxpayer dollars.
Republican Gov. John Kasich, the mastermind of JobsOhio, at first fought Republican Yost’s subpoena, but ultimately gave in by handing over the entity’s books. Transparency won the day.
Now, the Dayton Daily News has peeled another layer of the JobsOhio covering to reveal that the “private” designation is an exaggeration.
The newspaper analyzed records pertaining to the organization and its predecessor, the Ohio Department of Development, to show that Gov. Kasich’s characterization of ODOD as a “black hole” that failed to even return phone calls was a stretch.
The Daily News’ reporter, Andrew J. Tobias of the paper’s Columbus bureau, recalled a comment Kasich made when he was running for governor in 2010: “The days of trying to connect with business leaders through bureaucrats are over.” Tobias’ story noted that JobsOhio is staffed mostly by former development department employees and other ex-government workers.
And, nearly all those workers also received large raises to leave the public sector, the analysis shows.
But that’s not the only reason the public has a right to know what JobsOhio is up to.
Auditor Yost’s insistence on transparency is necessitated by the reality that $5.3 million in state grants were awarded to the agency and its subsidiary in fiscal 2012. In addition, state liquor profits are used to attract private financing.