You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Ohio lawmakers move to block JobsOhio from state audit


Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives voted Wednesday to shield nearly all of JobsOhio’s financial records from review by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost.

Under the bill, Yost would not be allowed to review the majority of the state’s private economic development arm’s funding — an estimated $100 million annually or more — generated from profits on sales from the state’s liquor monopoly.

Yost, a Republican, would be consulted in selecting a private firm that would audit JobsOhio each year.

The bill passed the House, 62-35.

Language limiting Yost’s auditing authority was inserted Wednesday morning as an amendment to an otherwise uncontroversial bill meant to reduce the cost of state audits for local governments. The amended bill will now go back to the Ohio Senate, which unanimously approved the measure withoud the JobsOhio amendment last week.

Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican, had pushed for the change since earlier in the year, when he and Yost in an intraparty squabble butted heads about the state auditor’s ability to review JobsOhio’s records.

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit Kasich and the state legislature created in 2011 to replace the government agency that had promoted economic development in the state.

Yost eventually issued a subpoena, with which JobsOhio officials reluctantly complied. JobsOhio returned $8.4 million in state funds it received to help it gets operations off the ground.

Spokespeople for Kasich and JobsOhio issued similar statements following Wednesday’s vote, saying the amendment would bring needed clarity to concerns raised by private economic development groups.

“It not only helps JobsOhio know how to move forward but it’s also critically important for the job creators who use economic development incentives to grow and expand in Ohio,” said JobsOhio spokeswoman Laura Jones.

“The additional accountability for JobsOhio is welcome also and provides additional assurances as it continues its important work to help create jobs so Ohio can keep getting back on track,” said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols.

Yost did not return a message seeking comment. A spokeswoman said Yost first saw the amendment Wednesday morning, and would need to review it before weighing in.

However, Yost addressed a rumored amendment in a March letter to legislators in which he argued he and future state auditors should be able to audit JobsOhio, which is run by a board of Kasich appointees and funded through state liquor proceeds.

“While there have been no indications of misdealing, the potential for self-dealing or other mischief exists sometime in the future. This office’s audit will help protect against the real possibility of human failings,” Yost said in the letter.

Democrats blasted Wednesday’s JobsOhio amendment, saying Republicans railroaded it through without public input from Yost, and unsuccessfully pushed to revert the bill back to its original form. State Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, said the JobsOhio amendment reduced the public’s ability to evaluate if JobsOhio is working effectively.

Last week, Lundy and other House Democrats introduced a bill that would make JobsOhio subject to state audits, as well as state ethics and public records laws.

“If you have nothing to hide, why are you afraid of the public’s right to know how public dollars are being spent by JobsOhio?” Lundy said.

State Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, who introduced the JobsOhio amendment, said the change would help preserve transparency while clarifying that JobsOhio and other private companies that receive public money aren’t as a result totally open to government auditors.

“This amendment reconfirms the Ohio legislature’s intent that JobsOhio be private and transparent,” Maag said.

Chambers of commerce in Cleveland and Dayton supported the JobsOhio amendment.

“(The amendment) makes sure the state doesn’t overstep its boundaries and start auditing private funds of private companies, because that’s not their role,” said Chris Kershner, a lobbyist for the Dayton chamber.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Husted says he offers new vision for Ohio
Husted says he offers new vision for Ohio

The youngest contender in the Republican race for Ohio governor went straight to the age issue on Monday when asked about 70-year-old Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s decision to run in 2018. When asked about the newest addition to the race, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said, “‘New’ would not be the way to describe...
What people are saying about Mike DeWine’s run for governor
What people are saying about Mike DeWine’s run for governor

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2018. He spoke as the DeWine Family Ice Cream Social. Here’s what some of the folks there had to say: “As far as his experience, as far as being able to address the needs of Ohio, everything from our children and education,...
Gov. John Kasich’s website hacked
Gov. John Kasich’s website hacked

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s website was hacked today by a group claiming to support the Islamic State. The Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was also hacked. A screen appeared saying: “Anti: Govt all word. You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people. For every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I love...
John Kasich against Senate health care plan; says don’t ‘rush’ it
John Kasich against Senate health care plan; says don’t ‘rush’ it

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Sunday he is “against” the Senate Republican leadership health-care bill as written, although he said he is “encouraging” lawmakers to “fix it” and not “rush” into passing the measure this week. In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Kasich said the GOP bill does...
Ohio Politics Today: State’s newest congressman looks back at first year, JobsOhio blunder as big as the moon
Ohio Politics Today: State’s newest congressman looks back at first year, JobsOhio blunder as big as the moon

Ohio Politics Today runs down the latest and best political stories around the state and recommended reads from around the web.  JobsOhio, the economic development program aimed at helping private businesses in the state, took out a page-sized ad in the widely read The Economist magazine, but left a noticeable mistake. In either a brilliant...
More Stories