Earlier this month, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled it would not take up the case involving constitutionality of Jobs Ohio-the state's new, non profit, job creation board. The high court said that case must be heard by a lower court first. Now, opponents of JobsOhio are re-filing that case at the county level. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.
Opponents who filed that case over JobsOhio with the high court have filed a new case with the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Democratic State Senator Michael Skindell says this lawsuit has the same basic thrust as the last one.
Skindell. What we have done is file a lawsuit challenging the organization, the way JobsOhio is being operated and that that structure is unconstitutional. (outcue….is unconstititonal :12)
Democratic Representative Dennis Murray says the state stands to lose millions of dollars through an unconstitutional job creation program.
Murray – And we shouldn’t be, in my judgment, continuing the practice of essentially taking Ohio to a pawn shop because that’s what we are doing (Outcue…are doing :07)
Murray says the problem is the way in which JobsOhio is structured….by allowing the state to transfer government assets to a private board that will, in turn, invest…and get equity in private companies.
Murray – This is fundamentally a conservative position. That are other members of the other party who have quietly approached me to say they are not comfortable with the notion that the state government would be choosing winners and losers in the marketplace and deciding who’s going to get state dollars for purposes of an equity investment. That’s something that the private sector should do (outcue….should do :23)
And some opponents have even questioned whether businesses that receive jobsOhio dollars could possibly use that public money to campaign to keep Ohio’s collective bargaining law, which is up for a statewide vote this fall. JobsOhio leaders have denied that allegation and they say there are safeguards in place to make sure government money is not used for political purposes. Spokespeople with Ohio’s Development Department didn’t want to talk about this latest lawsuit, saying they won’t comment on pending litigation. But earlier this year, when the board was formed, Governor Kasich assured reporters that there are checks and balances in place to make sure the money in JobsOhio is legitimately used to create jobs.
Kasich – We’re off to a very good start. They’ll run it like any other board. And we’re going to check and double check to make sure we get this thing right. (outcue…this thing right :08
Kasich and state leaders who created the program say it is constitutional. They plan to fight to keep JobsOhio intact.