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Ohio going on offense, starting a "jobs war"

Governor Kasich doesn’t just talk like he wants to bring jobs to Ohio, he is walking the walk, and laying out a plan. And as evidenced by the JobsOhio plan and the recent budget, no plans are too bold, or too big.

When was the last time you heard Ohio referred to like this?

Ohio Governor John Kasich wants to use about $100 million in annual liquor profits to retain and recruit businesses, a sum that may ignite a jobs race among states also hungry for employment.

The estimated revenue stream would be larger than similar arrangements in Michigan, Kentucky and California, and it would be one of the biggest such dedicated funding sources in the U.S., said Jeff Finkle, president and chief executive of the 4,500-member International Economic Development Council in Washington.

“It’s a very big number,” Finkle said in a telephone interview. “You may see some other states using the argument, ‘This is what Ohio is doing. We need to do it.


Just keeping the businesses we have from leaving for other states proved to difficult under the timid leadership of the previous administration. But to John Kasich, even just defending what we have now isn’t good enough. It’s time for Ohio to go on offense, and start being one of those states that other states have to worry about.

Transferring the liquor-distribution enterprise to JobsOhio will allow “revenue growth where we can actually go out there, compete and win against other states,” Kasich, 58, a Republican who took office in January, told reporters during a March 15 budget briefing.

“That’s huge,” said Nancy Sidhu, chief economist of The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., when told of Ohio’s plans for a $100 million funding source.

The part that is the most innovative is tying the funding to the state liquor profits. There are certain segments of the economy that remain steady or even flourish when the economy goes down. Liquor is a prime example of this. And this is why its such a unique idea. When the economy goes in the tank, the funding for business development is needed more than ever.

The key is a revenue stream that doesn’t fluctuate with the budget, said Mark Kvamme, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who agreed to be Kasich’s development director this year for a $1 salary and now is director of job creation.

“When the economy is going down, you have less money to invest in job creation,” Kvamme told reporters during a March 15 briefing. “That’s the time you need it the most.”

This amount of funding for attracting business to Ohio, being higher than anyone else’s, will give Ohio an advantage over every other state.

Two years ago, if the terms “jobs war” and “Ohio” were used in the same sentence, you can be certain that it was referring to Ohio being on the losing end. Not anymore. Other states are beginning to take notice. Ohio is not messing around. This is bold and innovative leadership on display.

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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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