Gov. John Kasich has ordered a state agency to end its new policy of keeping secret the estimated values of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of tax credits given to companies each year.
The Republican governor learned yesterday that the state’s Development Services Agency, which reports to him, recently had decided to consider the values of tax credits as “trade secrets” and would no longer release them to the public.
When JobsOhio, Kasich’s privatized economic-development agency, recommends tax credits for a company that creates a certain amount of jobs and new payroll, part of the calculation that goes into the recommendation is how much the tax credit would cost the state.
Those values had long been a matter of public record, but in the past month the Development Services Agency stopped publishing those values online because the estimates were found to be often wrong.
But calling those values “trade secrets” was another step — at a time when JobsOhio is trying to move away from the perception that it is a secretive agency — and Kasich said at a morning news conference that it “doesn’t sit well with me.”
“If things are historically open, we want them to be open,” Kasich said.