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Is Strickland abusing tax dollars to gain an electoral edge?

There’s no question that Ted Strickland promised to Turnaround Ohio. By the name of his campaign pledge alone, he claimed to have the ability to affect Ohio’s economy.

The result? An unemployment rate more than double what it was when Strickland was inaugurated.

Clearly, from a political perspective, Strickland needs good news on the job front. He needs ribbon cutting ceremonies and tours of newly opened businesses to help create the perception that the last 3 and a half years were a mirage and Ohio is running at peak efficiency.

But at what cost? Is Strickland abusing his power as Governor to overpay businesses to come to Ohio?

See this recent announcement about Coda Automotive:

Columbus, Ohio will be the site for a new battery plant for Coda Automotive, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The project will add 1,000 jobs to the area.

[…]

“Their incentive package was just clearly the best, and it penciled it out for us,” said Coda Spokesperson K. Forrest Beanum. “When you’re a start-up, it’s all about the finances.”

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland estimated the total incentives offered to Coda at approximately $100 million. Central Ohio leaders also included a pledge to buy 30 vehicles for local executives as part of their package to lure Coda to the region.

The company is now waiting on a federal loan from the U.S. Department of Energy that would fund most of the plant’s costs.

Do some quick math and that comes out to over $100,000 in taxpayer dollars spent per job.

Hell, if we spent that much to get back every job lost under Strickland, we could give every man, woman, and child in the state nearly $4,000 each!

So the question must be asked, is $100k per job the going rate for good publicity in a campaign year?

Now, I know the Governor’s office would just respond to this post with some intellectually dishonest talking point asking whether the GOP wants jobs coming to Ohio or not – whether we’re willing to do what it takes to get jobs to the state.

Of course we do, but in a cost-effective and fair way – in a way that provides incentives for all kinds of businesses to come do business in Ohio.

Strickland’s act of desperation is great news for 1,000 lucky Ohioans, but it’s awful news for the taxpayers.

UPDATE: A commenter brought up the incredibly good point that a start-up company isn’t exactly the ideal investment when you’ve got $100 million to burn.

It turns out an electric car company makes it even more so.

One such company, Tesla Motors, which counts Google among its investors, is making headlines for all the cash they’ve burned through without producing one car.

Meanwhile, Coda Automotive is bragging about former Bush Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson among its board members and hopes people will buy a car for $45,000 that has a range of 90-120 miles.

Anyone else getting the feeling we’re throwing $100,000,000 down the toilet?

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.

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