Marking the three-year anniversary of the creation of JobsOhio, State Reps. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) and Ronald V. Gerberry (D-Austintown) today called on GOP leaders to hold hearings on the JobsOhio Accountability Act, citing stagnant job creation and underperformance at the state’s controversial economic development entity.
Since the creation of JobsOhio three years ago, investigative news reports have chipped away at the secret, so-called economic development entity, finding an agency mired in conflicts-of-interest questions, misappropriations, accounting problems and severe underperformance. One analysis found that JobsOhio actually did worse than its state-run predecessor, targeting $16.8 million more in taxpayer subsidies to corporations while bringing in 1,258 fewer job commitments.
Meanwhile, Ohio trails the national job creation rate, and ranks 45th for private-sector job growth over the last year. 31,000 more Ohioans are looking for jobs than at this time last year.
Today’s call follows a litany of requests to GOP officials for transparency and accountability at JobsOhio. Most requests—including those for investigations and public records—remain unanswered.*
A copy of the letter can be seen below:
Dear Speaker Batchelder and Chairman Dovilla,
Since its creation on February 18, 2011, JobsOhio has advanced a secretive and unaccountable agenda in the name of economic development, and yet our state has nothing to show for it.
During this three year period, Ohio’s economic recovery has come to a grinding halt. We have trailed the national job creation rate throughout the last year, ranking 45th in private-sector job growth for 2013 and 38th for 2012. As the nation’s economy continues to improve, Ohio’s economy is falling behind. And still, the taxpayers and legislators have no way of knowing what—if anything—JobsOhio has done, or plans on doing, to make Ohio competitive again.
Today, at least 31,000 more Ohioans are unemployed than at this time last year. Many Ohioans have dropped out of the labor pool entirely, leaving 416,000 looking for jobs. Ohio was a national leader in job loss for four months of 2013, but there is no semblance of a plan from JobsOhio to get Ohio working again.
Jobs have been slashed at Ormet, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, Chase and too many other companies. JobsOhio has even targeted taxpayer funded incentives for some Ohio companies to simply relocate jobs from one part of our state to another. Nevertheless, taxpayers and lawmakers can’t get answers or assurances from those in charge of economic development in our state.
A comparison of JobsOhio to its state run predecessor finds that JobsOhio costs more to operate, but delivers less promises of jobs. In 2012, JobsOhio targeted $16.8 million more in taxpayer subsidies to corporations while bringing in 1,258 fewer job commitments than an open and accountable state-run agency. It is clear that JobsOhio is not even close to achieving the results that were promised to Ohioans.
JobsOhio only exists through its creation by the legislature. We should demand more accountability and transparency for taxpayers when a state-created entity is failing to do its job, or at least allow the legislature to debate the merits of requiring more from an organization that has given taxpayers little to nothing.
We renew our call to you today to hold committee hearings on the JobsOhio Accountability Act, HB 189. We look forward to your response.
Rep. John Patrick Carney
JobsOhio Accountability Act Sponsor
Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry
Ranking Member, Policy and Oversight Committee
Cc: JobsOhio, Gov. John Kasich, Development Services Agency, Policy and Oversight Committee Members