JobsOhio has been governor John Kasich’s big plan to bring jobs to Ohio, but it is hitting some major hurdles:
A private economic development agency created by Gov. John Kasich to move “at the speed of business” has been slowed to a near halt in obtaining its start-up money as it awaits the outcome of a lawsuit.
A bond sale that JobsOhio expected to complete in the first quarter has not yet taken place, leaving it without $100 million it would have used to create business incentives.
The delay also has left the state without the first $500 million it would get under a deal requiring it to transfer 25 years of profits from state liquor sales to JobsOhio in exchange for the up-front bond money. The deal could raise as much as $1.4 billion for the state.
The hurdles are the real interesting part:
Attorney General Mike DeWine has thrown a further wrench into things by raising new questions about the public records rules lawmakers are debating for JobsOhio. He says broad wording in a bill that cleared the Ohio House on Wednesday and has headed to the Senate could turn otherwise public records private.
DeWine said he is lobbying Kasich and lawmakers to address a provision that says records created or received by JobsOhio are not public regardless of who has custody. DeWine thinks it could shield documents from public view that state agencies share with Jobs-Ohio.
“Once it was shipped to JobsOhio, it would get immunized from public disclosure,” he said.
DeWine, a Republican, is upset over legislation passed by the state’s Republican controlled legislator and pushed by the Republican governor. The Columbus Dispatch looks even looks further into the issue:
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine worries that other agencies’ public records could be converted into state secrets simply by being shared with JobsOhio.
DeWine will ask legislators and the administration of Gov. John Kasich to change a bill passed today by the House to ensure that public records remain available to the public.
In creating Kasich’s privatized economic-development agency, legislators declared that records created or received by the nonprofit JobsOhio are not public, “regardless of who may have custody of the records.”
Sounds like Kasich is trying to set up a “safe hold” on public records that he never wants to be public. How in the world is this part of a transparent and open government? Even worse, what is it he is wanting to hide? To go this far means there must be something.