The Ohio Supreme Court will take up the case against Ohio’s non profit, private job creation corporation, JobsOhio. ProgressOhio, a liberal leaning advocacy group, has been trying to get the state’s highest court to accept the case.
In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, ProgressOhio’s Brian Rothenberg explains his group’s case is about two things – constitutional merit of JobsOhio and who has standing to sue JobsOhio.
Rothenberg: At this point in time, no court has actually decided the merits of whether JobsOHio is constitutional or not. If the court decides no one has standing to sue, it is possible that there could be an unconstitutional program but that there would be absolutely no one that would have standing to sue in the state of Ohio. So that’s the first big issue. The second big issue is JobsOhio because it allows public dollars to be spent on a private company, which is JobsOhio, without any oversight of those public funds. And that issue has never been decided in court because the state has played these legal games over who has the right to sue and more importantly, the state and Governor Kasich, for whatever reason, is pushing forward to sell bonds. And in this case, the bonds are actually starting to move this week. We believe that is putting investors at risk, and that it is irresponsible of the Governor and Wall Street to allow this to go forward until the case is decided.
Ingles: By taking the lawsuit, does this have any effect on the bonds?
Rothenberg: One would think that because the Supreme Court thinks this is an important enough issue to take up that the state of Ohio and Wall Street would take notice of it and not sell the bonds. One important thing for the state of Ohio and its citizens, if it does move forward, we do have standing, and they find this unconstitutional, the state of Ohio is responsible for paying back all of these bonds. And it is a really irresponsible action, especially if it (….could be found to be unconstitutional 1:39)
When asked whether JobsOhio would proceed with selling the bonds, Spokeswoman Laura Jones didn't want to go on tape but did issue a written statement. She says quote...."What I can tell you is that in the process of selling bonds there are a number of steps that must take place before the transaction occurs and we continue to work on those steps."....unquote. In a separate written statement, JobsOhio sayss…quote "We do not comment on pending litigation. We are confident in our legislated mission to help businesses grow and create jobs for Ohioans."…unquote.