As the nation continues to recover from the global economic recession of 2009, the Buckeye State has largely been left behind in the recovery, a fact that two lawmakers said in part prompted their new proposed state law change to require an annual performance audit of the state’s economic development entity, JobsOhio.
Though JobsOhio is a nonprofit organization that uses public money for economic development and job creation, it is exempt from public performance audits, unlike similar organizations that use taxpayer funds.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Thomas West (D-Canton) hope to change that with legislation announced today that would hold JobsOhio to the same standards and level of transparency that taxpayers have come to expect from organizations that receive public money.
“According to the Center for Community Solutions, Ohio’s median household income is below the national average, while our poverty rate is above the national average,” said Rep. Smith. “After five years of work, JobsOhio has not led Ohioans to a brighter future. A performance audit of JobsOhio will evaluate their operations based on the three ‘E’s;’ economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. This analysis will be helpful as the citizens of Ohio and the next Governor decide for themselves whether or not they are getting a healthy return on their JobsOhio investment.”
Ohio has trailed average job growth nationally for more than five consecutive years, with middle-income workers seeing the sixth worst decline in their share of income over the past decade.
“Not only should organizations who do the public’s work be accountable for their results, but it’s good government to know how we can do better as a state and be more economically competitive,” said West. “If something’s not working, if there our inefficiencies, we have a responsibility to fix it so people can have a fair shot at a better life in Ohio.”
Not only do two out of five Ohio households struggle to afford basic necessities, but almost 70 percent of Ohio jobs pay poverty wages.
Since its inception in 2011, Gov. John Kasich has touted JobsOhio and its potential to bring Ohio to the forefront of job creation in the United States.