We’ve all heard the numbers. And they’re ugly. Ohio is in decline.
- We’ve lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the last few years.
- Unemployment still near double digits.
- Ranked 46th out of 50 for our business tax climate by the Tax Foundation.
- Ranked 44th out of 50 best states for business by CEO magazine. (From 20th to 44th in 5 years, thanks Ted!)
- Ranked 38th for business, 46th for economic climate and 47th for labor force by Forbes.
- Ranked 38th by CNBC for business friendlyness and LAST in the midwest.
- Ranked 45th in Portfolio.com’s employment rankings.
- Dead last by US News & World Report of all states for best place to build a nest egg.
Ugh. Depressing huh? Well, the good news is, the voters decided enough was enough and elected a new governor. And unlike the timid leadership we’ve gotten used to, John Kasich is rolling up his sleeves, bringing new and exciting ideas and getting to work fixing this great state we all love.
You’ve probably heard about JobsOhio, the plan to reform the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). It’s commonly known among our government officials that the ODOD is one of the most inefficient and poorly performing parts of Ohio government. And one only has to look at all the companies that have left for other states to see that it is not working. If we don’t turn this around, and not only stop the bleeding, but actually start to attract global businesses to Ohio, those ugly numbers above are not going to improve.
JobsOhio would create a non-profit, private corporation to perform the development functions for the state. It would be staffed by businessmen and CEOs, people who actually know the business world, and can react quickly to opportunities and changes, unlike the sluggish bureaucracy we have now. Its staff would be rewarded for success, and penalized for failure. Kinda like the real business world most of us work in.
The left and the democrats in the statehouse are making a lot of noise about “transparancy”, but in fact, this is mostly politics. They want John Kasich to fail, and they will do anything to slow down his agenda. The bill that the Ohio House approved isn’t even final. It starts a 6 month study period, that will take input from all sides. And in the end, the way the current ODOD does business will likely be no more transparent than what is planned for Jobs Ohio. On the contrary, JobsOhio would be held more accountable for performance than the current ODOD.
And while “transparency” usually SOUNDS like a good thing, TOTAL transparency in this case would be counter-productive. Critics are saying that every dollar spent, and every meeting that occurs, should be easily accessible for all to see. But look at it from the other side. You are a business owner looking to move your business, or open a new plant. The team from Ohio is courting you, and you are seriously considering Ohio as an option. Then that becomes common knowledge before ANY deal is struck. Are you going to appreciate that any negotiations you make with Ohio are made public before you make your decision? Of course not. Why would ANY business want to show their hand to their competition, to the market, to their labor force, before making a decision? They wouldn’t, which is why the noise the left is making is not valid criticism, just the same old politics.
Ohio’s business community is getting on board. The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce has whole-heartedly endorsed the bill.
“HB 1 allows Ohio to start moving at the speed of business,” said Phil Parker, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, in a statement. “As HB 1 is being considered in the legislature, businesses are making decisions on where to move and grow their operations. We need to be at the table for these decisions … we needed to be at the table yesterday.”
Full details of the bill can be read here. As far as the criticism you’re hearing, you may notice that its coming from the same exact people that have been running this state for the last 4 years. Do you want to continue their status quo, or do you want to try a new way?