Build It And They Will Come

And Grow Licking County will take credit for it. The public/private “partnership” that is the Licking County Chamber of Commerce just asked for a raise (same faces, different titles). In a previous blog post (Anticipation 5-28-14) Analysis cited statistics presented by AP economics writer Josh Boak showing that corporate CEO’s take home 257 times what the average worker makes. According to Boak, in the past year the average worker received a 1.3% pay increase, the CEO’s got an 8.8% increase. Thursday, June 12, Grow Licking County requested the taxpayers of Licking County fund the Chamber’s enterprise to the tune of $220,000 per year (To clarify for Newark’s State representative, and spouse of Grow Licking County’s chairperson and the Chamber’s president (no, not polygamy, one and the same person!), that would be two hundred thousand with five zero’s to the left of the decimal point). According to the Newark Advocate’s Joe Williams (“Grow Licking County seeks increased county aid” 6-13-14) Grow Licking County received $50,000 worth of public support in 2012, 2013 and got a raise of $30,000 in 2014. This in addition to the money it soaks municipalities through flexing its job creation muscle. How does Grow Licking County stack up with national averages on pay increases? 12 to 13 is zero, about what the average worker received. 13 to 14 there’s a 60% increase of take home income. Not bad considering the folks funding it only received a 1.3% increase. How about the latest, from 80K to 220K? Analysis needs a calculator and some head scratching for that one. That’s a 175% increase of revenue in one year. Advantage Chamber! You go girl.

Analysis finds other news this past week contributes to understanding how this “public/private partnership” pollutes our democracy much as blue green algae does our water resources. AP correspondent Julie Carr Smyth reported on the related JobsOhio lawsuit ruled on by the State’s Supreme Court (“Liberal policy group can’t sue over jobs agency” 6-10-14). “The lawsuit alleged that JobsOhio’s funding structure violates a prohibition in Ohio’s Constitution against turning taxpayer dollars over to a private entity. That question remains unresolved, unless another lawsuit is brought against the nonprofit job-creation board that Kasich envisioned would move “at the speed of business.”” Later she writes “[dissenting Justice Paul] Pfeifer said the decision marked the third time the Republican-dominated court had failed to determine the constitutionality of legislation creating JobsOhio — saying first “not here,” then “not now.” “Today, this court ends all doubt about when it will determine the constitutionality of the JobsOhio legislation, essentially responding, ‘Not ever,’” he wrote.” That same day in a separate AP article (“More required from Ohioans getting unemployment” 6-10-14) Analysis read “Those applying for unemployment compensation will have eight weeks to upload a new resume at and make it “public,” so potential employers can find it.” This all hearkens the contemporary culture of the NSA exposed by Edward Snowden, ostensibly creating outrage throughout America. Yet here this same culture is found within the very fabric of Ohio’s and Licking County’s everyday. Where the money goes – that’s private. Where the money comes from – that’s public.


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