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Published: Wednesday, 3/27/2013

Wagoner: Auditor has no authority over JobsOhio

Ex-state senator says entity quasi-public

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS — A former state senator who helped create JobsOhio has taken advantage of a timeout in the dispute between Ohio Auditor Dave Yost and Gov. John Kasich to warn the auditor that he’s endangering the mission of the quasi-public economic development entity.

In a letter received by Mr. Yost this week, former Sen. Mark Wagoner, an Ottawa Hills Republican, wrote that lawmakers framed JobsOhio to be quick on its feet as it negotiates packages for job creation, unencumbered by the bureaucracies of government.

“I am concerned, however, that all of that can be undone if JobsOhio reverts to being considered a public body and its private revenues are somehow considered public funds,” Mr. Wagoner wrote in his letter.

The dispute between Mr. Yost and Mr. Kasich, two of the state’s most powerful Republicans, regarding the auditor’s authority over JobsOhio reached a kind of détente last week when the nonprofit corporation’s chief financial officer turned over the records for fiscal year 2012 demanded by Mr. Yost via subpoena.

But at the same time, JobsOhio announced it was returning the $5.3 million in taxpayer funds it had received and reasserted that the rest of its funds are outside the auditor’s purview. That sets up another potential showdown when Mr. Yost returns at the end of the current fiscal year to request records for 2013, the first year in which all the pieces finally fell into place for JobsOhio to operate.



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