Transparency lacking in JobsOhio in quarterly report

Wall Street obsesses over their in-depth quarterly reports, but in reporting its quarterly results last month, the newly-created privatatized economic development arm of the State–JobsOhio–decided to only publish a five row chart.

In 2011, JobsOhio took over responsibility from the Department of Development for wooing companies to Ohio and awarding incentives for investments that create and retain Ohio jobs. At the time, fears were expressed by opponents that this privatized agency would not have to publicly report its use of state money with private business to create and retain jobs.  Those worries were proven true with this last report by JobsOhio.

In a previous blog post we were able to calculate how much JobsOhio was spending per created or retained job.  This new report, however, misleads the public by only giving a number for capital investments committed, but not how much of that was actually taxpayer money.  Neither the chart nor the accompanying nine sentence press release published by JobsOhio provides the information needed to do the types of calculations necessary to measure the effectiveness of the new organization.  Ohioans deserve to know how much the state is spending to create and retain jobs.

President and Interim Chief Investment Officer Mark Kvamme said he was “pleased with the quarterly results,” and that “these numbers represent the first business quarter where [JobsOhio] had full sign-off rights on projects.”  However, as shown in the chart, these numbers aren’t that different from the first and second quarter when the Department of Development was still leading.  The number of deals made in this quarter has only increased by three since JobsOhio took full control and the numbers of jobs created and retained has remained mostly stagnant.  Ohio Legislators should insist on more clarity from JobsOhio so that we can stay informed on how state money is spent.