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'Ohio Miracle' mostly mirage: ODJFS reports 427K workers still jobless, UR 7.4%

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On Wednesday Ohio's first-term Republican Gov. John R. Kasich, who not too long ago called the state's recovery under his executive leadership an 'Ohio miracle,' was full of his usual bravado about the many reforms he's made so far—and more he will make next year when he asks voters to rehire him for a second and final four-year term—and how much better life in the Buckeye State is now.

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In his review of 2013 accomplishments, Gov. Kasich proclaimed he's created 174,800 private sector jobs, higher incomes and a record number of new business filings. "A number of reforms were implemented in 2013 to move the state further down the road toward solid, sustained prosperity for every Ohioan," he trumpeted to a friendly audience of about 200 chamber officials who gathered in downtown Columbus to hear the former Fox TV talk show host boast about his budget wizardry, made possible with a legislature dominated by Republicans.

But Gov. Kasich, who the Republican Governors Association has labeled a "Comeback" governor along with other Tea Party favorites like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Rick Scott in Florida, failed to mention that the state's unemployment rate over the last year has risen steadily from 6.8 percent last November to 7.4 percent today, according to unemployment figures released Friday by The Department of Job and Family Services.

A separate survey of employers found the overall work force shrank by about 12,000 people in November. Further disconcerting to the "Ohio Miracle" meme is the realization that the number of unemployed workers in the state from September rose another 2,000 workers to 427,000, an increase of 37,000 from a year ago.

Ohio's poor economic development performance, which some say rank it 44th in the nation in job creation, was further clouded by a release Friday by the Ohio Attorney General revealing that 120 of 266 [45%] of taxpayer funded economic development assistance went to companies that did not comply with state economic development performance standards.

AG report on state assisted job creation has warning signals

Ohio AG Mike DeWine, elected with Gov. Kasich and other GOP statewide officeholders in 2010, released findings for the 2013 Report to the General Assembly on Award Recipient Compliance with State Awards for Economic Development. The report is required to be submitted by the AG to the state legislature pursuant to statute. It analyzes compliance with the terms of economic development awards for recipients which had performance periods ending in calendar year 2012.

The report determined 266 awards had a performance period ending in 2012. The report found that 146 awards were in substantial compliance while 120 awards , resulting in an overall compliance rate of 54.9 percent. The report also listed compliance rates by award categories:

  • Workforce compliance rate: 100% (14 of 14 awards in substantial compliance)
  • Grant compliance rate: 49.5% (52 of 105)
  • Tax credit compliance rate: 53.8% (56 of 104)
  • Loan compliance rate: 55.8% (24 of 43)

An analysis comparing jobs promised to jobs created, and the cost for each job created, shows that 11,533 jobs were promised but only 5,108 materialized at a cost per job created of $1,576 based on $8,049,999 in grant awards.

In the cover letter to the report, DeWine said state incentive awards enable businesses already here to expand, attract new enterprises, retain current jobs, and train workers in new skills. "While the state rightfully encourages growth in business, capital investments, and workforce retention and enhancement, it must also be a good steward of taxpayer dollars," he wrote, adding it's the responsibility of his office to determine whether economic development award recipients have met the terms and conditions, including any applicable performance metrics, issued by the Ohio Development Services Agency.

Earlier this year, reporting by The Toledo Blade showed that jobs promised by a company as part of funding given to them often don't show up in reality. The miracles you hope for are not always the miracles delivered, as research in the report shows.

According to Blade reporter Kris Turner, his investigation of Ohio’s taxpayer-funded job-creation efforts discovered that businesses did not create thousands of jobs that state documents said they did. Turner's review of public documents showed that "Ohio development officials awarded tens of millions of dollars to companies they knew little about. Much of that money is now lost."

Gov. Kasich's Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald, has taken a beating from Ohio media in recent weeks over his selection of a running mate state senator whose record of federal and state tax liens, penalties and interest approach $1 million.

But now that FitzGerald's ticket-mate mulligan is over, more dour job reports like the one issued today gives the Cuyahoga County Executive the king of running room he needs to turn the conversation back to job creation and Gov. Kasich's failure to produce on the big promise he made in 2010, that his policies and programs would outperform the nation.

The national unemployment rate is now 7 percent while Ohio's is 7.4 percent. Kasich promised to "move the needle" if elected, and it appears he has, but in the wrong direction.

When citizen Kasich ran for governor a little over three years ago, he blasted the incumbent Democratic governor for losing hundreds of thousands of jobs during the Great Recession. Running on the slogan of Ted Strickland "didn't get the jobs done," Kasich squeezed by the Democrat by only 77,127 votes statewide.

The master of razzle dazzle going back to his first successful run for office in 1978, Kasich is a master at promoting reforms, which many say are designed to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. JobsOhio, Gov. Kasich's prized signature secret nonprofit responsible for the state's economic development effort, has also performed poorly, even though Kasich told listeners Wednesday that he expects other states to start their version of JobsOhio.

In recent polling done by nationally recognized polling firms, Gov. Kasich finds himself either tied with or only two percentage points ahead of Fitzgerald, who is a widely unknown politico. If a third party candidate can mount a reasonable campaign, Capital Square insiders know next year's race could be close enough that with a good turnout of people who don't like Kasich, be they Democrats, independents or Tea Party activists, the next governor may not be the current one.

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The post 'Ohio Miracle' mostly mirage: ODJFS reports 427K workers still jobless, UR 7.4% appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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