Bureaucracy serves itself in its growth

Bureaucracy, once-created, is difficult to tear back down. In the case of “public/private” bureaucracy, the challenges are even greater. It is no surprise, then, that even by its own metrics, JobsOhio has spent much of its existence growing … itself. According to the Ohio Capital Journal, the agency had 106 employees last year, with an average annual pay and benefits package of $180,000.

Though that money does not technically come out of taxpayers’ pockets, JobsOhio is funded through a 24-year “lease” of the state liquor monopoly. The Capital Journal explained it this way, “So while the non-profit corporation claims it’s ‘wholly funded by an independent private source,’ it’s talking about revenue that went into the state treasury before it was created.”

Meanwhile, using its own criteria, and based on JobsOhio’s own analysis, the state’s performance is merely middle-of-the-road when compared with West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The agency has spent $1 billion since 2015, but lost or failed to gain market share in four of the 10 sectors studied.

“We were told when JobsOhio was created that economic development needed to be done in secrecy to be successful. That hasn’t worked,” Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters Ohio, told the Capital Journal.

Well, it’s worked if you ask the 106 people whose salary and benefits come out to an average $180,000 a year.

Lawmakers are going to have to keep a close eye on this “privately” funded bureaucracy. JobsOhio needs to do a better job of serving the state, rather than itself.


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