When taxpayer money is used, it’s important that rules are followed.
The rules call for audits, transparency and accountability so the public can judge whether its taxes are being used wisely.
It’s a pretty simple concept.
Ohio Auditor David Yost understands that and believes in it. That's why he issued a subpoena on March 6 of Gov. John Kasich's JobsOhio initiative, which received $1 million in taxpayer dollars as start-up money, and has gone to market with a $1.5 billion bond sale backed by rights to Ohio's liquor business. The subpoena came after JobsOhio failed to produce the records on its own.
Such an audit is vital to show that more than $5 million in public funds are working to create jobs as they are intended. On Tuesday, JobsOhio complied despite maintaining that Yost doesn't have legal authority to audit the private side of the agency's books.
"The Auditor's assertion that he can audit any private company, nonprofit, or charity that receives public funds will scare off new job creators and cripple economic development in our state," JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer John Minor said in a statement.
Tough talk indeed. But if it were true, the books wouldn't have been turned over.
David Yost is the hero, here.
Kasich, Ohio Senate President Keith Faber and Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder all tried to get Yost to look the other way. No doubt they reminded him their intentions were noble, and no doubt they also reminded Yost that all four of them were part of the Republican brotherhood leading Ohio, and thus, should trust each other.
While JobsOhio was created in 2011 by Kasich to "move at the speed of business," moving quickly doesn't mean government is allowed to skirt a system of checks and balances because it is inconvenient. Given the initial public funding, JobsOhio should be audited like other public entities in order to promote transparency and accountability.
Yes, it could cost Ohio some future jobs. The principal of transparency in government, however, is far more important.