Local lawmakers take aim at JobsOhio

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Local lawmakers are once again taking aim at Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s administration and its controversial JobsOhio program for economic development.

Over the summer,  communications giant Verizon announced it was closing a call center and a retail store in Boardman as part of what company spokespersons were calling a consolidation effort.

On Monday, State Rep. Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown, and Ron Gerberry, D-Austintown, claimed the company was given tax breaks through JobsOhio, but the state won’t see any more growth because of it.

“Because Verizon gets a $4.5 million tax credit, they don’t really increase jobs. They move them to Columbus, we lose 400 jobs. Who’s the winner? The only winner is Verizon,” Gerberry said.

Hagan agreed.

“Basically, it’s a tax break for Verizon and these are our tax dollars. Those are the dollars of the Mahoning Valley as well. Using these jobs, these tax dollars to eliminate jobs,” he said.

The lawmakers said that even though JobsOhio is funded through tax dollars, it’s considered a private entity and isn’t subject to the same scrutiny other state agencies. Hagan and Gerberry said the governor and his administration be to be more transparent in how JobsOhio operates.

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