by German Lopez
116 days ago
Police investigate cruiser crash, council holds last finance meeting, achievement gap widens
The Cincinnati police officer who struck a pedestrian with his cruiser on Saturday was apparently driving 50 mph in a 25 mph zone, which violates the Cincinnati Police Department's guidelines that limit officers from driving more than 20 mph above the posted limit. Officer Orlando Smith was responding to a call to help an officer when he struck Natalie Cole of Dayton, Ky. She remains in critical condition at University Hospital Medical Center following the incident. CPD is conducting an investigation that is expected to be completed within two weeks. But Smith's cruiser camera mysteriously failed to record for three minutes as the events unfolded; the latest recording available prior to the incident shows Smith leaving a grocery store parking lot with his lights and sirens on, as required by department policy when responding to help an officer. Witnesses told WCPO that Smith was actually driving in excess of 60 mph without his siren on and the victim flung 40 feet after she was struck. Smith is on paid administrative leave as the investigation finishes, which is routine police procedure.City Council's Budget and Finance Committee will hold its final scheduled meeting today, less than three weeks before the new mayor and council are sworn in on Dec. 1. The committee's agenda is fairly packed after council canceled so many meetings throughout September and October for election season, but most of the items are uncontroversial incentive packages that aim to bring jobs and develop more housing opportunities in the city.The achievement gap between white and black students in Ohio grew in the past two years, according to the results from a series of tests known as "the Nation's Report Card" from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Chad Aldis, the vice president for Ohio policy and advocacy at the Fordham Institute, told StateImpact Ohio the results are disappointing because the achievement gap between black and white students in Ohio was already way too big and above the national average in math and English, the two categories in which the gap widened. Overall, Ohio's students ranked slightly above the national average in all areas but showed no significant improvement since 2011. Aldis says Ohio's adoption of Common Core standards, a set of stricter expectations for students embraced by 45 states, should help challenge students and lead to improvement.Here is an interactive map of marijuana seizures in Ohio this year, which were down from a record high in 2010. Some experts say marijuana and other drugs should be legalized following the failure of the decades-long
war on drugs to seriously curtail supply and demand, as CityBeat covered in further detail here.Mayor-elect John Cranley on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. will answer questions from readers and the editorial board at The Cincinnati Enquirer.The two chairmen of the Hamilton County Democratic Party and Republican Party will on Nov. 21 switch roles and argue the other side's position on alleged voter fraud as part of the "Beyond Civility" debate series. The initiative seeks to bring public officials together in a less partisan environment.The Cincinnati area's most prominent white-collar crime case will start hearings in December after a jury is picked by the end of the month in the trial of Matt Daniels, the former Kenwood Towne Place developer who's accused of various charges of fraud. Daniels' attorney talked to the Business Courier here.Ohio homeschoolers can now join public schools' sports teams.President Barack Obama will stop in Ohio on Thursday to discuss U.S. manufacturing.Boy choirs are having a more difficult time filling roles as boys hit puberty earlier.Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy• News: @CityBeat_News• Music: @CityBeatMusic• German Lopez: @germanrlopez
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Gov. John Kasich’s refusal to seek
another waiver for federal regulations on food stamps will force 18,000
current recipients in Hamilton County to meet work requirements if they
want the benefits to continue.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 03:48 PM | Permalink
Governor not pursuing waiver for restrictions as economy supposedly recovers
Gov. John Kasich’s refusal to seek another waiver for federal regulations on food stamps will force 18,000 current recipients in Hamilton County to meet work requirements if they want the benefits to continue.
Under federal law, “able-bodied” childless adults receiving food
stamps are required to work or attend work training for 20 hours a week.
But when the Great Recession began, the federal government handed out
waivers to all states, including Ohio, so they could provide food
assistance without placing burdens on under- and unemployed populations.
Kasich isn’t asking for a renewal of that waiver, which means
134,000 Ohioans in most Ohio counties, including 18,000 in Hamilton
County, will have to meet the 20-hours-per-week work requirement to get
their $200 a month in food aid starting in January, after recipients go through a three-month limit on benefits for those not meeting the work requirements.The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services explained earlier in September that the waiver is no longer necessary in all but 16 counties because Ohio’s economy is now recovering from the Great Recession. Two weeks later, the August jobs report put Ohio’s unemployment rate at a one-year high of 7.3 percent after the state only added 0.6 percent more jobs between August 2012 and August this year.
At the same time, the federal government appears ready to allow stimulus funding for food stamp programs to expire in November. The extra money was adopted
in the onset of the Great Recession to provide increased aid to those hit
hardest by the economic downturn.
That means 18,000 food stamp recipients in Hamilton County
will have to meet a 20-hour-per-week work requirements to receive $189
per month — $11 less than current levels — for food aid starting in
November. Assuming three meals a day, that adds up to slightly more
than $2 per meal.
The $11 loss might not seem like much, but Tim McCartney,
chief operating officer at the Hamilton County Department of Job and
Family Services (HCDJFS), says it adds up for no- and low-income individuals.
“Food assistance at the federal level is called SNAP,
which is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It’s not designed to
be the entire food budget for yourself or your family. It’s designed to
be a supplement. So anything you lose to a supplement, you obviously
didn’t have enough in the first place,” McCartney says.
HCDJFS already helps some recipients of other welfare
programs meet work requirements through local partnerships. But to avoid
further straining those partners with a rush of 18,000 new
job-searchers, the county agency is also allowing food stamp recipients
to set up their own job and job training opportunities with other local
organizations, including neighborhood groups, churches and community
McCartney says he’s also advising people to pursue job opportunities at Cincinnati’s SuperJobs Center,
which attempts to link those looking for work with employers. McCartney
says the center has plenty of job openings, but many people are unaware
of the opportunities.
“This population sometimes has additional barriers with
previous convictions or drug and mental health issues that would
eventually exempt them, but for others, there are plenty of
opportunities right now that we’d like to connect them with,” he says.
Conservatives, especially Republicans, argue the work
requirements are necessary to ensure people don’t take advantage of the
welfare system to gain easy benefits. But progressives are concerned the
restrictions will unfairly hurt the poorest Ohioans and the economy.
Progressive think tank Policy Matters Ohio previously found every $1
increase in government food aid produces $1.70 in economic
At the federal level, Republican legislators, including
local Reps. Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup, are seeking further cuts to the food stamp program through H.R. 3102, which would slash
$39 billion over 10 years from the program. Part of the savings in the
bill come from stopping states from obtaining waivers on work
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio
Association of Foodbanks, decried the bill in a statement: “Congress
shouldn’t be turning to Ohio’s poorest people to find savings —
especially children and others who are unable to work for their own
food. The proposal the Ohio members of Congress supported is immoral,
and our lawmakers must work together to represent all their
constituents. No one should be in the business of causing hunger, yet
that’s the choice the Ohio members of Congress made today.”
The legislation is unlikely to make it through the U.S. Senate, but President Barack Obama promised to veto the bill if it comes to his desk.Correction: This story previously said the restrictions start removing “able-bodied” childless adults from the rolls in October instead of January.
by German Lopez
128 days ago
Motion cites infant mortality, unemployment and economic worth as major issues
Councilman Wendell Young and five other council members on Oct. 30 signed a motion that asks the city administration to budget $2 million to address racial disparities in Cincinnati.
The motion cites three statistical disparities: Infant
mortality rates for black babies are three times the rate for white
babies; the unemployment rate for black residents is two to three times
the rate for white residents; and the black population only makes up 1
percent of the Cincinnati area’s economic worth despite making up nearly
half of the city’s population.
“As the City of Cincinnati invests in infrastructure to
support economic development and job growth, in developments that
attract new businesses, and in job retention and growth, it is of
critical importance that all members of the Cincinnati community
participate in our progress and prosperity,” Young’s motion states.
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and council members Pam Thomas,
Laure Quinlivan, Chris Seelbach and Yvette Simpson joined Young in
signing the motion.
The motion asks the city administration to budget $500,000 to each of four organizations in fiscal year
2015: the Urban League of
Greater Cincinnati, the Hamilton County Community Action Agency, the
African American Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Closing the
Health Gap. The money will “support minority business startups and
entrepreneurship, job training and workforce development, and access to
healthy foods and health care,” according to the motion.
The proposal comes as the city administration begins putting together a disparity study
to gauge whether the administration can and should favorably target
minority- and women-owned businesses through Cincinnati’s business
contracts. The results for that study will come back in February 2015.
It’s unclear how much weight the motion will carry in the
upcoming weeks. On Nov. 5, voters will elect a new mayor and City
Council. The next city administration and council could have a
completely different approach — or no approach at all — to addressing
racial disparity issues.
For more information on the upcoming election, check out CityBeat’s coverage and endorsements here.
by German Lopez
128 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:44 AM | Permalink
Previous study linked high savings to economic mobility
Mayor Mark Mallory announced on Thursday that the Bank On
Greater Cincinnati initiative during its first two years reached 1,700
residents previously without a bank account, which could help boost
their economic mobility. The residents kept an average of $701 in their
The initiative connects local residents with traditional
financial services so they’re less reliant on check cashing and payday
lending businesses. The average user of payday lending services spends
$900 a year in fees, according to the mayor’s office.
Of course, the initiative benefits banks as well by
connecting them to more potential customers who otherwise might forgo
traditional banking services.
Bank On Greater Cincinnati is a partnership between
Cincinnati, Covington, Newport, SmartMoney, the Cincinnati branch of the
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and 13 participating banks.
SmartMoney now manages Bank On in conjunction with Greater
Cincinnati Saves, which encourages individuals to make a pledge to grow
their savings. In the seven months that both initiatives worked
together, 490 people took the pledge, a 220-percent increase over
previous years, according to the mayor’s office.
“We are helping move people into the financial mainstream
so they can begin to save and build assets,” Mallory said in a
statement. “I want to thank all of our partners that help make this
initiative so successful. Bank On will continue to help families
establish bank accounts and receive strong financial education to help
them manage their money.”
A November 2009 study from the Economic Mobility Project found
a connection between savings and economic mobility. According to the
study, high personal savings can greatly benefit both an individual
during his or her lifetime or the individual’s children.
“Seventy-one percent of children born to high-saving,
low-income parents move up from the bottom income quartile over a
generation, compared to only 50 percent of children of low-saving,
low-income parents,” the study found.
The improvement could add up for Cincinnati, which is
still mired in troubling economic indicators despite some economic
progress in the past few years. More than half of the city’s children lived in poverty
in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Another study released in
July by economists at Harvard University and University of California,
Berkeley, found Cincinnati ranked 650 among 728 markets analyzed for
upward economic mobility.
by German Lopez
128 days ago
Election Issue hits stands, ballot restrictions move forward, Cranley helped move jobs
CityBeat’s full Election Issue is in stands now. Check out our feature stories on three remarkable City Council challengers: Mike Moroski, Michelle Dillingham and Greg Landsman. Find the rest of our election coverage, along with our endorsements, here.
The Ohio legislature is working through a bill that would limit ballot access
for minor parties, which argue the petitioning and voting requirements
are meant to help Gov. John Kasich’s chances of re-election in 2014. The
Ohio House narrowly passed the bill
yesterday with looser restrictions than those set by the Ohio Senate
earlier in the month, but a legislative error in the House means neither
chamber will hammer out the final details until they reconvene next week.
Republicans say the bill is necessary to set some basic standards for
who can get on the ballot. Democrats have joined with minor parties in
calling the bill the “John Kasich Re-election Protection Act” because it
would supposedly protect Kasich from tea party and other third-party
challengers after his support for the federally funded Medicaid expansion turned members of his conservative base against him.
As an attorney and lobbyist at Keating, Muething & Klekamp (KMK), mayoral candidate John Cranley helped payroll company Paycor finalize plans to move its headquarters
— and 450 to 500 jobs with it — from Queensgate in Cincinnati to
Norwood, Ohio. Specifically, KMK and several of its employees, including
Cranley, helped Paycor and Norwood set up a tax credit deal to
incentivize the company’s relocation. The Cranley campaign says he was
just doing his job after Paycor went to KMK, not the other way around.
But supporters of Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, Cranley’s opponent in the
mayoral race, say he shouldn’t be helping companies leave the city he
wants to lead. Paycor’s move in 2014 means the city will have to take
back some of the money it gave the company, through two tax deals that
Cranley approved while on City Council, to encourage it to stay in Cincinnati through 2015. Cranley received a $1,100 campaign contribution from Paycor CEO Bob Coughlin on Aug. 20.
Opinion:• “Which Came First, the Chicken or the Streetcar?”• “The Folly of Privatization.”
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
(CVG) board travels widely and often dines at public expense, according
to an investigation from The Cincinnati Enquirer. Among other findings, The Enquirer
found the CVG board, which is considered a governmental agency, has a
much more lenient travel expense policy for itself than it does for
staff members, and it sometimes uses airport funds to pay for liquor. On
Twitter, Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartman called the findings outrageous and demanded resignations.
Northside property crime is on the rise,
and police and residents are taking notice. Business leaders in the
neighborhood are concerned the negative stigma surrounding the crime
will hurt their businesses.
With federal stimulus funding expiring in November, 1.8
million Ohioans will get less food assistance starting tomorrow. The
news comes after 18,000 in Hamilton County were hit by additional
restrictions this month, as CityBeat covered in further detail here.
Hamilton County commissioners yesterday agreed to pay $883,000 to cover legal fees
for Judge Tracie Hunter and her legal team. The Hamilton County Board
of Elections racked up the bill for the county by repeatedly appealing
Hunter’s demands that the board count more than one-third of previously
discarded provisional ballots, which were enough to turn the juvenile
court election in Hunter’s favor. Hunter’s opponent, John Williams,
later won a separate appointment and election to get on the juvenile
Metro, Cincinnati’s local bus service, announced it’s relaxing time limits on transfer tickets, which should make it easier to catch a bus without sprinting to the stop.
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp laid off nearly 500 employees in the past six months, with some of the layoffs hitting Cincinnati. The bank blames the job cuts on slowdowns in the mortgage business.
A new study finds cheaters are more likely to strike in the afternoon.
Early voting is now underway. Find your voting location here.
Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days are
extended. If you don’t vote early, you can still vote on Election Day
(Nov. 5). Check out CityBeat’s coverage and endorsements for the 2013 election here.
Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy• News: @CityBeat_News• Music: @CityBeatMusic• German Lopez: @germanrlopez
by German Lopez
129 days ago
Mayoral candidate represented company as it moved headquarters to Norwood
As an attorney and lobbyist at Keating, Muething &
Klekamp (KMK), mayoral candidate John Cranley helped payroll company
Paycor finalize plans to move its headquarters — and 450 to 500 jobs
with it — from Queensgate in Cincinnati to Norwood, Ohio.
Specifically, KMK helped Paycor and Norwood set up a tax credit deal to incentivize the company’s relocation. Throughout the
process, the law firm called on several of its employees, including
Cranley, to help with the negotiations.
For Paycor, the move comes after more than two decades in
Cincinnati. The company originally looked in Cincinnati for bigger
headquarters with better parking options, but ultimately couldn’t find a
location to its liking, according to a May 2012 memo
from the city manager. So when Paycor found a location outside city
limits and worked out a tax incentive package with Norwood and Ohio, it
decided to move.
Cities and states often deploy incentive packages, ranging
from property tax abatements to deductions on income taxes, to attract
and retain companies. Pure Romance, a $100-million-plus “relationship
enhancement” company, recently agreed to move from Loveland, Ohio, to
downtown Cincinnati after securing such a tax deal with the city.
Paycor broke ground on its new headquarters in December and
plans to move there next spring. The transition will pull 450 to 500
employees out of Cincinnati, and the company plans to add another 250
to 300 employees over time at its new facilities.
Cranley campaign manager Jay Kincaid says Cranley and KMK
won’t comment on the details of their work with Paycor or other clients
for ethical reasons. But Kincaid says Cranley was just doing his job
after Paycor went to KMK, not the other way around.
“In the legal profession you’re asked to represent
clients, and you do it to the best of your ability,” Kincaid says. “At
the time I don’t think (Cranley) was even running for office. The firm
came to him and said, ‘Hey, we have a job that we need you to work on.’
And he did the work, just like anyone else would at their job.”
Norwood City Council approved the deal with Paycor on Oct.
23, 2012. Cranley announced his mayoral campaign three weeks later, on
Cranley’s critics argue that a mayoral candidate shouldn’t be helping companies leave the city he wants to lead.
“It is disappointing that John (Cranley) helped Paycor
leave the city with its over 450 tax-paying jobs. His efforts undercut
the city’s efforts to retain jobs and businesses,” said Vice Mayor
Roxanne Qualls, who is running against Cranley, in an emailed statement.
The move comes despite Cincinnati’s various attempts to
hang on to Paycor, including previous tax deals. In 2001,
then-Councilman Cranley and the rest of City Council approved tax
incentives to keep the company in Cincinnati, retain its 142 jobs at the
time and create another 25. The city administration estimated the deal
would cost the city $225,750 and generate $546,000 in net tax revenue
over five years.In 2006, Cranley and seven council members approved another incentive package to further secure Paycor’s stay in Cincinnati.
But the deals also required Paycor to remain in Cincinnati
through 2015. Since Paycor’s move violates the agreement, the city
administration says it plans to claw back some of the tax benefits given
to the company.
In other words, Cranley in 2001 and 2006 approved tax deals with Paycor that the company, with his help, is now set to break.
City spokesperson Meg Olberding says the clawback process
will begin after Paycor moves to Norwood in 2014. So if Cranley is
elected by voters on Nov. 5, he would be mayor as the city is taking
back some of the money it gave away.
Although the city is taking a hit, Cranley’s relations
with the payroll company appear unscathed. Paycor CEO Bob Coughlin
contributed $1,100 to Cranley’s campaign on Aug. 20, according to
campaign finance reports.Updated with more details about the tax deals between Cincinnati and Paycor.
by German Lopez
130 days ago
State job numbers mislead, Cranley didn't repay $75,000 loan, county to vote on budget
Many jobs the state government claims it’s creating don’t actually exist, according to The Toledo Blade.
The Ohio Development Services Agency claims it improved its process for
tracking the effects of taxpayer-financed loans, grants and subsidies,
but The Blade found errors led to more than 11,000 claimed jobs
that likely don’t exist. Part of the problem is that the state relies on
companies to self-report job numbers; although the Ohio Development
Services Agency is supposed to authenticate the reports, officials
almost never visit businesses that get tax incentives. The discrepancy
between claimed job creation and reality raises more questions about the
efforts of JobsOhio, the privatized development agency established by Gov. John Kasich and Republican legislators that recommends
many of the tax subsidies going to Ohio businesses. CityBeat covered JobsOhio in further detail here.
Mayoral candidate John Cranley didn’t repay a $75,000 loan
for his Incline Village Project in East Price Hill that was meant to go
to a medical office and 77 apartments that never came to fruition. Kathy Schwab of Local Initiatives Support
Corporation (LISC), which loaned the money to Cranley’s former
development company, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that they
worked out terms to repay the loan after the news broke yesterday.
Supporters of Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls’ mayoral campaign say the news
casts doubt on whether Cranley is as fiscally responsible as he’s led on
while stumping on the campaign trail. As The Enquirer notes,
Cranley is very proud of the Incline Project and often touts it to show
off his experience building a successful project in the private sector.Hamilton County commissioners are expected to vote on a budget
on Nov. 6. This year’s budget is the first time in six years that the
county won’t need to make major cuts to close a gap. But the
commissioners also told WVXU that it’s unlikely they’ll take up the
county coroner’s plan for a new crime lab, which county officials say is a dire need.
A lawsuit filed on Oct. 23 asks the Hamilton County Court of Appeals to compel the Hamilton County Board of Elections to scrub UrbanCincy.com owner Randy Simes off the voter rolls,
less than two weeks after the board of elections ruled Simes is
eligible to vote in Cincinnati. The case has been mired in politics
since it was first filed to the board of elections. Simes’ supporters
claim the legal actions are meant to suppress Simes’ support for the
streetcar project and Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls’ mayoral campaign.
Proponents of the lawsuit, who are backed by the attorney that regularly
supports the anti-streetcar, anti-Qualls Coalition Opposed to
Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), argue they’re just trying to
uphold the integrity of voting. The dispute hinges on whether Simes’
registered residence for voting — a condo owned by his friend and business
colleague, Travis Estell — is a place where he truly lived or just
visited throughout 2013. Currently, no hearing or judge is set for the
Pure Romance officially signed a lease for new headquarters in downtown Cincinnati,
which means the $100-million-plus company is now set to move from its
Loveland, Ohio, location starting in January 2014. Pure Romance
originally considered moving to Kentucky after Ohio reneged on a tax
deal, but council ultimately upped its offer to bring the company to
Cincinnati. As part of its deal with the city, Pure Romance will get $854,000 in tax breaks over the next 10 years,
but it will need to stay in Cincinnati for 20 years. The city
administration estimates the deal will generate $2.6 million in net tax
revenue over two decades and at least 126 high-paying jobs over three
One in six Ohioans lived in poverty in 2012, putting the state poverty rate above pre-recession levels, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Two Butler County students were arrested yesterday after they allegedly threatened to go on a shooting spree on Facebook.
Rachel Maddow accused Ky. Sen. Rand Paul of plagiarizing his speech off Wikipedia.
The Taste of Belgium’s next location: Rookwood Exchange.
Pollinating bees could deliver pesticides in the future.
Early voting is now underway. Find your voting location here. Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days are extended. Check out CityBeat’s coverage and endorsements for the 2013 election here.
Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy• News: @CityBeat_News• Music: @CityBeatMusic• German Lopez: @germanrlopez
by German Lopez
136 days ago
Good Jobs First says privatized agencies create scandals, not jobs
JobsOhio and other privatized development agencies have created scandals and potential conflicts of interests
instead of jobs, claims an Oct. 23 report from Good Jobs First, a
research center founded in 1998 that scrutinizes deals between
businesses and governments.
The report looked at privatized development agencies in
seven states, including Ohio, and found that many of the same problems
and scandals appear from state to state.
“These experiments in privatization have, by and large,
become costly failures,” the report found. “Privatized development
corporations have issued grossly exaggerated job-creation claims. They
have created ‘pay to play’ appearances of insider dealing and conflicts
of interest. They have paid executives larger salaries than governors.
They have resisted basic oversight.”
The report focuses much of its findings on JobsOhio, a
privatized development agency that Gov. John Kasich and Republican
legislators established in 2011 to replace the Ohio Department of
Development. The agency uses tax subsidies and other financial
incentives to attract companies to Ohio with the intention of creating jobs.
But the report states JobsOhio “assembled a board of
directors whose members included some of (Kasich’s) major campaign
contributors and executives from companies that were recipients of large
state development subsidies. It received a large transfer of state
monies about which the legislature was not informed, intermingled public
and private monies, refused to name its private donors, and then won
legal exemption (advocated by Gov. Kasich) from review of its finances
by the state auditor.”
It found similar issues in privatized development agencies
in Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Rhode Island and Michigan. In
some cases, the scandals have cost states millions of dollars with
little job creation to show for it, according to the report.
The latest report concurred many of the findings in a
similar 2011 report from Good Jobs First, which sought to warn states,
including Ohio, about the potential risks of privatized development
For JobsOhio, a major cause for concern in the report is
how difficult it is to hold the agency accountable. State legislators
have approved multiple measures that shield JobsOhio from public
scrutiny, including exemptions that exclude the agency from public
records laws, open meeting rules and the possibility of a full public
Some of the controversy also focuses on how the state funds JobsOhio.
“The proposal called for ‘leasing’ the state liquor
profits ($228 million the year prior) for up to 25 years to JobsOhio,
which would eventually issue $1.4 billion in bonds to pay for the use of
the funds,” according to the report. “Critics charged that this was not
a fair market price for profits that could potentially amount to $6
billion over the term of the agreement.”
The report laments that the privatized and secretive
agency represents a shift for Ohio, which the report claims “was an
early practitioner of online subsidy disclosure.”
Good Jobs First concludes privatized development agencies
perpetuate an economic environment in which big companies already have
too much say.
“The privatization structures we describe here, including
the increasing use of corporate seats for sale on governing or advisory
boards, absolutely favor large businesses that have the money and
executive staff time to pay and play at such levels,” the report
concluded. “But small businesses already get short shrift in economic
development resource allocation, and they are still suffering the most
in the Great Recession’s aftermath.”
The organization also takes issue with the idea that
public agencies aren’t “nimble”: “In all of our years tracking
development deals, we have yet to hear of a state agency that lost an
important deal because it failed to provide labor market or real estate
or incentive data in a timely manner.”
Asked about the report, Kasich spokesperson Rob Nichols
responded in an email, “We don't pay much attention to
politically-motivated opponents whose mission is to combat job
Kasich and other Republicans claim JobsOhio’s privatized,
secretive nature is necessary to secure job-creating development deals
with private companies in an economic environment that, through the
Internet and globalization, moves more quickly than ever before.
Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Ed
FitzGerald, claim the agency is ripe for abuse, difficult to hold
accountable and unclear in its results.
State Auditor Dave Yost plans to release an audit of
JobsOhio soon, but no specific date or time frame is set for the
release. The audit was granted prior to state legislation that barred
the state auditor from doing a full sweep of JobsOhio’s financial
details.The full report:
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 02:14 PM | Permalink
City administration estimates deal will net nearly $2.6 million in tax revenues over 20 years
Oct. 10 update: At its final full session before the Nov. 5 election, City Council on Wednesday approved nearly $854,000 in tax credits for Pure Romance that city officials say will bring the company to downtown Cincinnati for at least 20 years.Councilman Charlie Winburn, the lone Republican on council, was the only council member to vote against the deal.Oct. 9 story: City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday
approved nearly $854,000 in tax credits over 10 years for Pure Romance
in return for the company coming to and remaining in Cincinnati for 20
The city administration estimates the deal will lead to at
least 126 new high-paying jobs in downtown Cincinnati over three years and nearly $2.6
million in net tax revenue over two decades.
If the company fails to keep at least 126 jobs after three years or remain
in Cincinnati for 20 years, the city will claw back some of the tax
credits depending on how egregiously the terms are failed.
Cincinnati in 2011 clawed back tax benefits on its so-called “megadeal” with Convergys after the company failed to keep its total downtown employment at 1,450 or higher.Pure Romance is a $100-million-plus company that hosts
private adult parties and sells sex toys, lotions and other
“relationship enhancement” products.
The company was originally planning on moving to
Cincinnati with support from both the state and city. But Gov. John
Kasich’s administration ultimately declined to provide tax credits,
which forced the city to ratchet up its offer from $353,000 to prevent Pure Romance
from moving to Covington, Ky., instead of Cincinnati.
Kasich’s administration says
the company didn’t fall into an industry the state normally supports,
but state Democrats and local officials claim the state government
resisted the tax credits because of a “prudish” attitude toward a company that sells sex toys.
“We welcome Pure Romance to the city of Cincinnati,” Vice
Mayor Roxanne Qualls said at the committee meeting. “We are glad that
the city administration and Pure Romance were able to work out an
arrangement that actually welcomed them to the city.”
Pure Romance previously told CityBeat that it hopes
to move its headquarters from Loveland to downtown Cincinnati by the
end of the year, but the move hinges on whether the company can quickly finalize a lease agreement.