Expecting Different Results

“The Bible tells us that there is a time and a place for everything under the Heavens. At this point in Ohio history, it is the time for us to INVEST IN OHIO!” Following the initial kudos and acknowledgements, this was the opening line of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s 2019 State of the State address. His primary focus of investment is the maintenance and upgrading of Ohio’s roads and bridges. Whereas John Kasich never failed to disparage his Democrat predecessor for leaving him a rainy day fund without any money, Mike DeWine revealed that he likewise has been left with a fund out of money, transportation. “The only difference is that the state has masked its problem by borrowing more and more money (none of which, by the way, has gone to our local communities). Well—now our credit cards are literally maxed out—and we simply cannot borrow any more—nor should we. Some may think that if we do nothing, the quality of our roads will somehow remain the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. The money the state has borrowed—that same money that has been propping us up—has now been spent. It’s gone.” Unspoken is that we (the GOP) have only ourselves to blame for it. Butt weight, there’s more. Not only was no mention made that this hollowed out account was left by the outgoing administration, but the outgoing administration’s “innovative new public-private partnership,” JobsOhio, was never once mentioned in the entire speech. Coincidence? Almost within the same time as the speech, JobsOhio released their annual report. “2018: A ‘record year’ for JobsOhio” by Thomas Gnau, for the Dayton Daily News (3-5-19) gives the numbers: “2018 figures offered by JobsOhio:• Total number of projects: 266• New jobs: 27,071 • New jobs payroll: $1.3 billion• Retained jobs: 69,905• Retained jobs payroll: $4.2 billion• Capital investment: $9.6 billion” As then Ohio Auditor and now Ohio AG Dave Yost showed only too clearly, the nitty gritty of these figures can never be known. How much of the $9.6 billion involved tax payer moneys, generated by liquor sales or otherwise? How integral was JobsOhio to the creation of the 27,071 new jobs? Would all or part still have become actual without JobsOhio intervention? JobsOhio takes no responsibility for the Lordstown shuttering (“out of their hands”) yet they take credit for new jobs carte blanche. The appearance/disappearance of JobsOhio during the State of the State speaks volumes without making a sound uttered by the current Governor (“It’s gone.”). Few remember when liquor was sold only in “State Stores”, but liquor sold in Ohio still is managed by the State with the difference being that no one but JobsOhio profits from the sales. It IS, by design, a public private partnership. In December of 2016 this blog wrote of one such JobsOhio “Capital investment” (Stormy Weather, 12-9-16) “JobsOhio Picks Up the $17M Cost for Prepping OH Cracker Site (Marcellus Drilling News 12-7-16). From that article (in the industry’s own words): “Clearing the site, which once hosted the R.E. Burger coal-fired power plant, was no small task. The power plant site, owned and (until 2011) operated by FirstEnergy cost $14 million for demolition, remediation and general cleaning up. An adjacent site (not owned by FirstEnergy) cost another $3 million to tidy up. All told it took $17 million to clean up the site and get it ready to begin construction. FirstEnergy is reported to have said they were “excited” by the opportunity to spend $14 million to clean it up. Wait, what? They wanted to spend the money? Well actually, no, they didn’t. FirstEnergy spent the money to clean up the site because they have been/are being reimbursed for the cost by JobsOhio”” No hydrocarbon cracking plant was ever built. The site sits “jobs ready”, or is that “investment ready”? But you can’t drive on it or use it to cross a river. Governor DeWine is correct. The money is gone, but he makes it sound as if someone just didn’t pay attention to Franklin in handling the Benjamins (“Neither a borrower nor lender be”). Truth is, along with the tax cuts it was given away to subsidize corporate wealth through JobsOhio. Now DeWine and the GOP want to “fix the problem” of this migration of funding resources through a regressive tax, paid by those on the other end of the corporate wealth spectrum. Butt weight, there’s even more with another priority proffered with this State of the State statement: “In the budget that I will propose, we will be creating a new public health fund, that will leverage resources through an innovative new public-private partnership to increase public health awareness and prevention strategies.” The GOP never gives up on insisting there is money to be made wherever there is public need. “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” (origin unknown).

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