More Of The Right To Look

            Corporate and government public relations spokespeople know all too well how to work what is called a “news cycle”. It is well known that stories appearing at the tail end of the “news cycle” will quickly be displaced by the stories and “news” that rolls out with the start of the next cycle. Within the traditional print media, the news cycle usually began with the large edition Sunday news. With contemporary print’s morphing into an online/print synthesis, the cycle accelerated to a late Friday, Saturday starting time. News appearing just prior would be described as at the end of the news cycle. Yesterday the Ohio Attorney General released a report on the compliance (and efficacy) of Ohio’s economic development funding primarily implemented in the form of grants, tax credits, loans and awards. These are touted as incentives to create “jobs” and in turn benefit the “jobs creators”. The Akron Beacon Journal (AP) states that “The Ohio Attorney General says just over half of companies receiving state economic development awards last year were fully compliant with the requirements of those awards, such as job creation or retention. The report by Attorney General Mike DeWine is an annual study required by lawmakers to gauge the outcome when companies receive grants and other awards. DeWine’s study released Thursday found that of the 266 awards with a performance requirement in 2012, 120 or about 45 percent were not compliant.” (12-20-13 Akron Beacon Journal, the entire document can be accessed at ohioattorneygeneral.gov). This (re)confirms the independently financed Toledo Blade study cited in this blog’s November 2, 2013 posting. That private study likewise showed that half of the state’s financial incentives to create jobs disappear. The word disappear is not here used facetiously as the Blade points out the veritable difficulty (if not impossibility) of gaining access to information regarding the actual performance outcome of these developmental efforts (thanks in no small part to the legislated exceptional status granted JobsOhio). Dewine’s release of his study coincides with the end of the news cycle, as did last week’s report on the efficacy of the state legislated mandate of third grade reading tests. That report (regarding the reading) disappeared from the radar screen of news with the weekend’s opioid addiction series run by the Newark Advocate. It would not be surprising if the attorney general’s “glass half empty/half full” results don’t meet the same demise. It is bad enough to admit that these legislated efforts aren’t working as intended. But to admit that our efforts to create jobs cost twice as much as intended creates more than embarrassment.

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