Local governments could discuss economic development in secret under a change to the Ohio Senate’s latest version of the 2013-2015 budget.
The amendment, unveiled Tuesday in the Senate Finance Committee, would create an exception to the Open Meetings Law: Governing bodies could call closed sessions to discuss businesses’ requests for tax breaks.
Look: this is very simple. Businesses exist to make a profit, to enrich themselves. As we have seen, many of them are not particular about skirting ethics and legality to do so.
That’s bad enough when their own money is all that’s at stake. When tax dollars are involved, there should NEVER be secrecy and closed doors. And if these businesses are concerned about their privacy, a fear expressed by a representative of the Greater Cleveland Partnership in the hearings on the JobsOhio audit bill, then they should not take tax money.
Claiming that businesses should be coddled like this because of “job creation” is bunk. Most businesses will go out of their way to NOT create jobs if they can avoid the expense. We’ve already seen that with a couple of genius Kasich’s big tax giveaways to businesses that then shed jobs.
Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association, told the CIncinnati Enquirer, “We learn again and again and again, unfortunately, that when things are secret, bad things can happen.”
That’s the understatement of the year.