Ohio House Minority Leader Armond Budish released the following statement regarding the developing controversy over JobsOhio. Recent reports have revealed that the Kasich administration transferred more than $5 million dollars of taxpayer money to JobsOhio without proper legislative approval. Gov. Kasich and his administration are now refusing to answer questions and cooperate with a subpoena by state Auditor Dave Yost to audit JobsOhio and the possible improper use of state funds.
“When Gov. John Kasich first proposed creating JobsOhio, House Democrats raised serious concerns about a fundamental lack of transparency and accountability in the legislation. Recent news reports showing the that Kasich Administration has quietly shifted $5 million in taxpayer money into JobsOhio validates our original concerns and warrants a serious legislative effort to ensure clear pay-to-play protections and increased transparency.
“While I believe it is clear that the State Auditor has the authority to inspect the financial records of JobsOhio, I would absolutely support and encourage legislation to ensure that there is no ambiguity on this issue. Additionally, I believe much more needs to be done and will be working with members to push the necessary legislative fixes either through the amendment process or as stand alone legislation.
“These legislative fixes must include reversing previous efforts to exempt JobsOhio from basic public records and state ethics laws. We will work to ensure that the Inspector General has the same ability to investigate JobsOhio as he does with respect to other state agencies. We will also seek greater financial disclosure from Board members and those companies that are awarded funds from JobsOhio.
“I believe theses accountability and pay-to-play protections are absolutely necessary if JobsOhio is going to be successful – which is a goal we all share. Right now, however, there is a dark cloud of secrecy and suspicion hovering over JobsOhio and a heavy dose of sunshine is the only remedy. It is outrageous that the majority leadership has suggested that they intend to introduce legislation to cover-up potential wrongdoing by prohibiting the State Auditor from auditing JobsOhio.”