John Kasich wants to outsource Ohio development efforts

John Kasich, a cheap labor conservative and candidate for Ohio Governor, announced on Tuesday his plan to throw 400 state workers out of a job and provide corporate welfare under the guise of “economic development”.

Kasich wants to replace the Ohio Department of Development with a private, nonprofit corporation staffed by people he personally appoints. He also plans to have final approval on any development money handed out. How convenient.

State development department employees whose jobs would be affected would be able to apply for jobs with the new nonprofit, private development entity, Kasich said.

“They would not be public employees,” Kasich said. “We don’t want public employees.”

Kasich said he would be chairman of the JobsOhio board and Taylor probably would be vice chairman, “but we don’t want a government entity. We don’t want the civil service restrictions. We’re going to have to work through all the privacy questions, but we’ll work through that.”

The board, Kasich said, will be empowered to negotiate incentives and other deals with companies “all the way to dotting T’s and cross I’s (but) the final decision will remain inside the governor’s office.”

Funding for JobsOhio would come from the state and private sources, including individuals, businesses, labor organizations and foundations. The Kasich campaign could not immediately estimate how much state funding would flow to the new nonprofit entity or how much would be required to operate it.

Kasich would privatize state development efforts

So basically his cronies will decide who to give money to and there would not be any oversight on how tax payer money is spent. {snark}How could that go wrong?{/snark}

Kasich is under the assumption that Ohio is not pro-business – well his idea of pro-business (which means cheap labor, no taxes, and ample corporate welfare like little to no regulation).

“We have a much better tax system going forward because we no longer have this punishing tax on investments, and inventory, and machinery and equipment,” he said. “We no longer tax corporate profits. Most states tax corporate profits, and so we are much better going forward.”

The commercial activities tax, which replaced those taxes, imposes less than half the burden of its predecessors, State Tax Commissioner Richard Levin said.

“In our region, we have the lowest effective tax rate for businesses,” said State Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel.

Ohio’s regional competitors include Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and, to a lesser extent, West Virginia and Kentucky, she said.

Other more formidable competitors are farther away: North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. They vie with Ohio because they have more undeveloped land, are in the Sun Belt and a have a cheaper work force image, Patt-McDaniel said.

But Ohio boasts drawing cards, too: a higher-skilled work force with a better work ethic, she said.

Fresh water, plentiful in Ohio and more scarce in the Sun Belt, will become a bigger factor in economic development over the next 50 years, Patt-McDaniel said.

Ohio business tax rates ‘much better’

The reason Ohio is having a struggle now is not only from the 2008 collapse sponsored by cheap labor conservatives like Kasich but also because those same cheap labor conservatives did a number during their 16 years in charge of Ohio. Governors George Voinovich (1991-1998)and Robert Taft (1999-2007) molded the state with plenty of “pro-business” policy. Current Governor Strickland hasn’t had much time to do anything different aside from stopping the final part of a 21% income tax cut from going into effect to try and lessen the pain of an $800 billion dollar budget shortfall.

It isn’t unusual for a cheap labor conservative to have selective memory. Tuesday night President Obama arrived in Columbus for a campaign event for Ted Strickland and of course the Columbus Dispatch had to have a comment from Kasich:

Asked today about the president’s visit, Kasich wasn’t impressed.

“Obama’s a fine man, but his economic policies are flat-out not working,” he said. “I would love to talk with him about the power of free markets and free enterprise and lower taxes on work and lower taxes on investment and risk-taking.”

Obama arrives in Columbus

I wonder if the phrase “squeezing blood from a turnip” means anything to a cheap labor conservative like John Kasich.


The Columbus Dispatch had some further comments on Kasich’s “JobsOhio” that I had missed myself when thinking about it. Such a non-profit private entity would be in a very gray area when it comes to public records. I’m sure John Kasich best fantasy is giving tax dollars to his business buddies and no one knowing the details until years later when the law suits finish in the courts and he is back working for Wall Street or in the US Senate (or both).

Advocates of government transparency might have shuddered at John Kasich’s proposal to put the Ohio Department of Development out of business by privatizing its duties and handing them to a government-funded nonprofit.

The plan of the Republican gubernatorial candidate to create an entity known as JobsOhio raises questions about ongoing access to state records and financial information that now are a matter of public record.

A nonprofit organization performing a public purpose with a funding hybrid of tax dollars and private donations is a much tougher and murkier creature to explore when it comes to obtaining records under state law.

Kasich nonprofit plan risk to transparency? 

One Reply to “John Kasich wants to outsource Ohio development efforts”

  1. Read an article on, like, Page 5B of the Columbus Disgrace yesterday (and it was actually a wire piece from Dayton Daily News) about Mr. Kasich working for THE Ohio State University 4 hours a month on a job whose role he defined at the reasonable rate of $50,000 a year. So, for 7 years, our wannabe gov'nor collected a $50,000 paycheck from a public university for 48 hours of work. 48 hours of work. Per year. And, despite the fact that NO other Big 10 School spend tax dollars on former policiticians for this service (whatever the "service " was), everybody, including the University which I have paid for most of my life in both tax dollars and tuition and Mr. Kasich, was okay with this. The article says he was last paid in 2009–maybe the job is open now and I can apply.

    Even better, the Kasich people pulled out that John Glenn, a former Democratic Senator, has a similar arrangement to speak once a month or so at THE Ohio State University. Alright, methinks, corruption knows no policitical boundary. Except, according to the article, Senator Glenn actually DONATES his time to the University. In case the Kasich people don't understand this, "DONATES" means he works for free. I have walked in the shoes of the person who works 48 hours without getting paid a thing for his time than the one who makes $1041.66 an hour, even though that is only $1034.36 more per hour than 2010 Ohio minimum wage (and I am assuming Kasich wasn't considered a tipped employee during his 4 hours, which, seeing the way he operates, may be a pretty big assumption. Who knows- he may have had a styrofoam cup on the corner of his lecturn with "TIPS" written on it?) 

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