Kasich’s new JobsOhio, the private, nonprofit group that will oversee economic development efforts in the state, will be funded with $1 million in taxpayer money to get started. JobsOhio will eventually be funded both publicly and privately, The Plain Dealer reported.
JobsOhio will have a nine-member board, appointed by Kasich, that he will chair. Board members will be appointed to four-year terms and will not take salaries.
Other details: Names and salaries of all JobsOhio employees will be public. A chief investment officer, nominated by the board and approved by Kasich, will execute contracts, hire workers and spend private funds. The board will hold four public meetings per year, but also reserves the right to hold private executive sessions associated with those meetings.
More details of the plan will become available when legislation is introduced, which should be soon, because hearings on the bills are set for next week.
The state’s biomedical industry has generally expressed cautious support for Kasich’s privatization plan, though leaders likely will want to see more details of the plan before they can assess what sort of impact it’ll have on the industry.
Earlier this month, Kasich appointed friend, campaign contributor and Sequoia Capital partner Mark Kvamme as the interim director of the Department of Development. Kvamme has been meeting with business leaders around the state, the Plain Dealer said.
A recent report from Washington, D.C., research group Good Jobs First should give pause to advocates of Kasich’s privatization plan. The report examined states that have transferred some or all of their economic development activities to public-private partnerships, as Kasich’s plan proposes.
“The track record of those few states that have taken the step is filled with examples of misuse of taxpayer funds, political interference, questionable subsidy awards, and conflicts of interest,” the group said in (pdf) a statement.
The report’s author called privatization “little more than a power grab by governors and politically connected business interests.”
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