Ed FitzGerald Calls Out Kasich on His Self-Backpatting at Taxpayer Expense

Apparently preparing for his re-election campaign in 2014, our gov has started to run ads in Ohio boasting what a big success his privatized Department of Development Replacement, JobsOhio, has been.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2012/11/17/jobsohio-tou...

This Dispatch article should properly have been labeled p.r. since it is essentially a press release from the governor's office and presents no balanced viewpoints.Shame on you, Dispatch.

There are a couple of problems here. First of all, it's very hard to tie the slowly improving economy of Ohio to anything JobsOhio did. So far, it seems like it's mostly given money to Kasich cronies. It's hard to tell how many jobs they actually created. It's more likely that the recovering economy is due to national factors that Kasich resisted, such as the auto industry bailout. It's unclear that the shaky JobsOhio has had any impact at all. If anything, the governor's policies have fought against Ohio's economic comeback, as his cuts to local governments and public schools have forced layoffs in some communities. His bragging is extremely unseemly.

And at taxpayer expense,

a new state TV ad ... will start airing on Sunday as part of a $1.4 million marketing campaign designed to highlight job growth in Ohio and keep the momentum going. ...The campaign also will include ads in the state’s major newspapers, including The Dispatch, starting on Sunday, as well as ads in the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Wall Street Journal.

The story says that a JobsOhio shill claims this campaign is to attract new business to the state, which doesn't explain why ads are running in state and in the Dispatch (hmmm ... conflict of interest there?)

Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald, who is openly seeking to be the Democratic candidate for governor in 2014, has sent Kasich a letter, calling him out on this blatant self-promotion and campaigning at taxpayer expense. I pretty much agree with everything he says. The letter is below:

Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

November 20, 2012

Dear Governor Kasich,

I write to express my concern, and the concern of many in Northeast Ohio and across the state, about your recent use of $1.4 million dollars in state funds to place television and print ads that strongly seem meant to bolster your personal job approval numbers. These ads are an improper waste of state funds and seem intended to boost your gubernatorial re-election effort rather than actually help with economic development here in-state.

Like most Ohioans, I’m deeply thankful that President Obama and Ohio’s partners have helped foster an economic recovery for our state that began in February 2010 and continues to this day.

Because our partners were committed to saving our auto industry and providing Ohio with temporary financial assistance during our nation’s darkest hour, our state is in position to lead the nation back from the worst recession since the Great Depression. We’re proud of our story, but we don’t need to waste money patting each other on the back.

By targeting these ads at Ohioans on television and newspapers around the state, this expense is not aimed at luring out-of-state investors or companies to relocate here in Ohio. Many in the state legislature trusted you to exempt JobsOhio from public disclosure because you suggested that was necessary for economic development. That very lack of disclosure requirements for JobsOhio now prevents us from determining whether those associated with your re-election effort are personally benefitting from Ohio’s assets.

Even if this expense was not a blatant misuse of state assets for campaign purposes, it would still be questionable following the massive cuts your state budget imposed on schools and communities across the state. Here in Cuyahoga County alone, the $1.4 million spent on these ads could be better utilized by nearly fully restoring the cuts your budget imposed on school districts across the state, including several in my home county which could have been made whole with this money.

Ohioans are resourceful, optimistic for the future, and thrifty. We are not the ones that need to be convinced of our own improvements, after all, we have lived through them.

I hope you will consider immediately discontinuing this waste of taxpayer dollars and dispelling the impression that you are using state resources for your re-election effort.

Sincerely,

Ed FitzGerald
Cuyahoga County Executive

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