Could Local Versions Of JobsOhio Be Coming To Your City?

images of the Hancock County Ohio commissioners
Hancock County (OH) commissioners (clockwise) Phillip A Riegle, Mark D Gazarek, & Brian J Robertson

It seems the now secretive work of economic development to hide giveaways to corporations who may or may not create any jobs in Ohio has arrived in Hancock County. On Tuesday, the county commissioners went into executive session to secretly discuss what they claimed was economic development issues. It seems the Ohio state legislature put in the recent budget law a section that allows county and city governments to close meetings to the public when it will be discussing economic development. How much do you want to bet that soon we will see county taxpayer supported slush funds for corporate giveaway like the state’s JobsOhio.

Hancock County commissioners went into a closed session Tuesday, citing a new state law that allows public bodies to discuss economic development behind closed doors.

The commissioners gave no reason for the closed session except that it was to discuss “economic development matters.”

Under the new law, public bodies may move into executive session “to consider confidential information related to marketing plans, specific business strategy, production techniques, trade secrets, or personal financial statements of an applicant for economic development assistance, or to negotiate with other political subdivisions respecting requests for economic development assistance.”

The information must be directly related to a request for economic development assistance, or involve public infrastructure improvements or the extension of utility services that are directly related to an economic development project.

The vote to go into executive session must be taken by roll call and be unanimous, according to the rules.

Commissioners close meeting, citing new law

So, the commissioners closed a meeting to the public that may involve promising or spending public funds. Fantastic!

Ohio has a similar state agency called JobsOhio that is exempt from public scrutiny. It spends millions on “economic development” although the amount of new jobs developed doesn’t match the cash it’s spending.

How much do you want to bet that we might soon have a local taxpayer slush fund for corporate payoffs like JobsOhio.

Not to mention the GOP dominated state legislature used the state budget to push this undemocratic rule into law. They have also used the budget to take away civil rights so people can’t use the referendum to repeal the action.

You would think if a law was actually good for the state the legislature wouldn’t be so scared that they have to pull shenanigans to get their way by putting it in the budget.

If our government worked for the people like it is suppose to do, we wouldn’t be seeing these attempts to give corporations kickbacks.