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Kasich rewards incomplete oversight in the budget bill

April 02, 2015

Kasich rewards incomplete oversight in the budget bill

April 02, 2015

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Under a law passed in 2008, Ohio’s attorney general must monitor companies that receive loans, grants, or other financial assistance from the state for economic development.

The attorney general is required to submit an annual report detailing how well the recipients of these awards are abiding by the conditions and meeting the performance metrics. Unfortunately, Attorney General Mike DeWine has only been reviewing the awards that end in a given year, allowing ongoing awards to pass without scrutiny. This ultimately diminishes the ability of the General Assembly to exercise proper oversight on its economic development programs, which places tax dollars at risk.

Rather than change the practice, Gov. Kasich has decided to change the law. The budget bill he has submitted, House Bill 64, proposes to alter the statutory requirements so that the attorney general may report on a company only during its “closeout year” – that is, the deadline by which it must meet a performance standard under the award. In doing so, Kasich would validate the attorney general’s reluctance to provide full and rigorous monitoring over every stage of the economic development packages.

In creating a budget that works, transparency is a key first step. This provision, slipped into the budget, will not accomplish that goal. Ohioans must continue to press for a budget that strengthens the state, not through damaging tax cuts and lax standards, but rather through smart investment and effective oversight.

-- Zach Schiller and Sam Whipple

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2015Budget PolicyRevenue & BudgetZach Schiller

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