JobsOhio, a privatized nonprofit created by Governor John Kasich’s administration to head the state’s economic-development efforts, recommended a $4.5 million job creation tax credit to Verizon. That proposal was approved in March by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.
The tax credit keeps Verizon in Ohio but will result in the company closing its Boardman facility.
Verizon’s Dublin facility, which employs 1,867 workers, will close next year, and those employees will move to Hilliard. None of the Dublin employees will lose their jobs in the consolidation.
Some criticize JobsOhio and Gov. Kasich’s administration for not doing enough to save Mahoning Valley jobs.
“State money was used to keep [Verizon] in Ohio, but we were left on the chopping block as they consolidate,” said Boardman Trustee Thomas Costello, a Republican.
Boardman Trustee Brad Calhoun, a Democrat, said the Verizon shutdown will have a “big impact” on the local economy with “families being disrupted and torn apart.”
One former employee, who spent more than five years working at the Boardman office said, “I don’t think it’s right for the state to give a tax break to a company to close in one community and open in another. People’s lives are being totally disrupted. This is going to be devastating to this region.”
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who is running for governor, has been a frequent critic of JobsOhio. “This whole [Boardman issue] highlights a lot of the problems with JobsOhio,” FitzGerald said. “They’re so secretive we don’t know if [JobsOhio] tried to save jobs in the Valley. It’s impossible to know that, and that’s a fundamental problem with JobsOhio.”
As a private entity, Jobs-Ohio isn’t subject to the state’s open meetings and records laws.
“We don’t know what they’re doing,” FitzGerald said. “It gives the appearance of pitting one part of the state against another. These kinds of economic decisions are controversial under any circumstances, but to have it done in secrecy is even worse. It seems like the state government is helping to subsidize losing jobs [in the Valley]. It understandably infuriates people.”
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