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.

Report calls JobsOhio flawed

JobsOhio criticizes findings saying they are a ‘conglomeration of news articles.’


Private economic development agencies used by several states, including Ohio, have been marred by scandals over exaggerated job creation numbers, pay-to-play appearances, high pay for executives and a lack of public transparency, according to a study released Wednesday.

“We conclude that the privatization of economic development agency functions is an inherently corrupting action that states should avoid or repeal,” said the report from Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based policy group that advocates for greater accountability in economic development subsidies.

During the governor race in 2010, Republican John Kasich pitched the idea of replacing Ohio’s Department of Development with a private non-profit agency and charging it with economic development duties. Once in office, Kasich created JobsOhio and funded it with bonds backed by profits from the state’s liquor business.

Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy said the study does not include original research but builds off a 2011 report as well as published news stories about JobsOhio and the other new private agencies.

“It’s difficult to comment on a document that is based on nothing more than a conglomeration of news articles that this group helped generate in its call for states to unilaterally disarm in the national competition for job creation,” said JobsOhio spokeswoman Laura Jones. “Our commitment is to Ohio and our mission is to help create more jobs for Ohioans by working with companies to grow and locate in our great state.”

Since its creation, JobsOhio has faced controversies:

* Six of its nine board members have financial ties to companies that received state incentives;

* Kasich signed a law that bars the state auditor from reviewing JobsOhio;

* The agency is exempt from public records laws and most ethics laws and it refused to disclose who provided $6.9 million in private donations to the organization, and it faces a lawsuit over whether it is constitutional.

Good Jobs First cites problems with JobsOhio as an example of why states should not turn to private agencies to handle economic development work.

“Economic development is complicated and there is lot of moving pieces. We think you want people who are covered by ethics laws and sunshine laws and accountability,” LeRoy said.

In recent years, newly elected governors in Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Arizona all opted for the privatization model.

If a state goes this route, Good Jobs First says some safeguards are in order: maximum transparency on agency decisions and for subsidy recipients, strict rules against ethics conflicts and favoritism, appointment of a public ombudsman to oversee complaints and allow agency employees to unionize.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Ohio

Some local communities saw 3-plus inches of rain fall in 24 hours
Some local communities saw 3-plus inches of rain fall in 24 hours

More than 3 inches of rain fell over the last 24 hours in some parts of the Miami Valley and Southwest Ohio. Flash flooding was a problem for some, especially in communities south of Dayton in Warren, Butler and Clinton counties. Auglaize County 1.94: Minster  Butler County  3.42: Mount Carmel  2.21: Saint Paris  Clark County ...
Clark Co. health officials report 1 suspected Zika virus
Clark Co. health officials report 1 suspected Zika virus

A traveler returning home in Clark County has contracted what is believed to be the Zika virus, according to the Clark County Combined Health District. The individual traveled from a “Zika hot spot” and upon return exhibited a rash and other symptoms consistent with Zika, according to Clark County Health Commissioner Charlie Patterson. ...
Stafford: Learn about cancer while applauding survivors
Stafford: Learn about cancer while applauding survivors

OK, class, I know it’s late in the school year, but Mr. Stafford needs you to settle down and take your seats. We’re starting today with a little quiz. Save your groans. The torture won’t last long this time. Just three questions, true or false, easy-peasy. But there’s a catch, a reason you might want to put down your cell phones...
Teen charged in Bellfontaine school threat
Teen charged in Bellfontaine school threat

A Bellfontaine High School student was arrested Thursday night and alleged to have made threats against the high school. The Bellfontaine Police Department announced on their Facebook page they arrested a 16-year-old and said that the community is safe. The student is alleged to have uploaded a video onto Facebook Thursday threatening to harm other...
SBDC exec to place more emphasis on existing businesses
SBDC exec to place more emphasis on existing businesses

The new executive director for the Small Business Development Center in Springfield said the agency will likely place more emphasis on growing existing businesses in Clark County. The agency has placed an emphasis in the past in helping small businesses get off the ground, said Rob Alexander, who took over as executive director of the SBDC. That kind...
More Stories