Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kasich/Taylor Announces JobsOhio Plan

You can find the details of the plan here.

Before I get in to a few comments, be sure to check out Joe Hallett's and Mark Niquette's story here. A few highlights:
In the first substantive proposal of the governor's race, Republican John Kasich today proposed replacing the Ohio Department of Development with a private, nonprofit corporation.
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."
"We're going to take a different approach to an organization that has withered," Kasich said. "If we want to attract business we need an approach that reaches out to business on its terms, speaks its language and understands its needs. . . . The days of trying to connect with business leaders through bureaucrats are over."
Halltt and Niquette also note a glaring problem:
Questions immediately surfaced about how JobsOhio would work and whether a private, nonprofit corporation has the authority to oversee the spending of state tax dollars or awarding tax credits and other incentives to businesses.

The Kasich campaign did not provide specifics, but said the governor's office would retain control over funding decisions and expressed confidence that the plan is constitutional.

The campaign said there is legislative and judicial precedent for the state using private entities to perform a public purpose, including the Ohio Historical Society.
On Twitter, RightOhio's Matt Naugle said, "Conservatism is not corporatism." And he is right. But this plan isn't corpratism either. I think this is a hybrid of what we have been doing in Ohio with some good, old fashioned reduction in government overhead.

The main concern exprerssed by conservatives thus far is that the plan seems to mimic the OBDC. And, it would...because let's face it, any institution that is set up to address these sorts of problems are going to have very similar mission statements. The distinction is in the details of how the two differ. OBDC has to go through the Department of Development which involves layers of bureaucracy and red tape. It sounds to me as if Kasich is wanting to eliminate all of that and give the JobsOhio group direct access to the governor's office. The savings in reduced manpower on the government payroll is enough to give the plan a good look.

I think this is going to take some time to tell if the plan is really worth doing, butI applaud the Kasich/Taylor team for finally putting forth something with some meat on it.

UPDATE: Leader Batchelder statement:
“Since I returned to the legislature in 2007, the need to rejuvenate how our state helps businesses expand has grown exponentially.”

“Most recently, the Department of Development has been weighed down by bureaucracy and exhibits pursuit of numerous missions that have little bearing on Ohio’s economic development. I support John and Mary’s plan to refocus on what matters most—creating jobs—and look forward to partnering with them in the legislature to quickly enact whatever legislative changes are needed to make this proposal a reality. Ohio’s unemployment is at 10.5 percent, and with the plan before us today, I am confident that we can quickly began reviving our economy and getting Ohioans working again.”