Ohio Auditor Asks To See The Books For JobsOhio

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It’s an agency charged with the duty of creating jobs, but JobsOhio is being questioned by both the political left and the right.

Last week, Republican State Auditor Dave Yost filed a subpoena to open JobsOhio’s financial records.

JobsOhio was designed to be a private entity, but it received more than $5 million from taxpayers since its creation.

“It’s important to look at the total picture,” Yost said. “My job is to follow the dollars and the facts and go where they lead, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder told 10TV he disagreed with his fellow Republican.

“If he read the statute, it says this isn't public money,” Batchelder said. ““We’re going to have to be in a position where we don’t have some sort of an audit that questions whether funds were properly used.”

Groups on both the right and left disagree.

Maurice Thompson represents a tea party group that is suing JobsOhio on constitutional grounds.

“We’re talking government money being used for a government purpose by a corporation created by government,” Thompson said. “Basically, it’s run by the governor of Ohio with board members he appoints.”

It’s the same view as Brian Rothenberg from Progress Ohio, a liberal think tank.

“If it’s public, it should be audited, it should be subject to public records, and there should be accountability in what they do,” Rothenberg said.

Batchelder said that the complaints about JobsOhio are politically motivated by Democrats, although Yost is a statewide elected Republican.

JobsOhio replaced many of the functions of the Department of Development after Kasich became governor.  The remaining part became the Development Services Agency.

Spokesman Todd Walker declined to answer questions Monday about state grants funneled to JobsOhio.

He told reporters following a meeting of the Controlling Board to “submit those to me in writing.”

Kasich told reporters last month that opponents of Jobs Ohio would have to answer to a "higher authority."  Both Thompson and Rothenberg laughed that off Monday, and replied it's the constitution they're worried about.

JobsOhio has until March 19 to comply with Yost’s subpoena.

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