THE BLOG

What's Too Sexy For John Kasich? Job Creation!

09/12/2013 01:51 pm ET | Updated Nov 12, 2013

It's clear at this point that Ohio Governor John Kasich wants to be the next President of the United States, and he could very well make a strong showing in the 2016 Republican Primary.

It's also clear how badly John Kasich wants you to believe that he is the "Jobs Governor."

Which might lead you to ask, "Then why is Kasich currently chasing good jobs out of Ohio?"

News broke at the end of last week that Pure Romance, a $100 million-plus company that sells relationship enhancement products (among other things, sex toys), was attempting to relocate its headquarters from suburban Loveland, Ohio to downtown Cincinnati. After a yearlong national search for a new headquarters, the company decided it wanted to be part of the Renaissance occurring in Cincinnati's urban core.

As a city, we were pleased to offer a deal to re-locate a successful and growing company here. The agreement would bring 60 corporate jobs to Cincinnati, and create another 60 over the next several years. The average salary for these positions is $65,000 a year.

In addition to $353,000 in credits from the city, in order to make the deal work, Pure Romance also requested job creation tax credits from the state of Ohio, which were to total $108,000.

Shocking all parties involved, the state denied the request. JobsOhio, Kasich's scandal-plagued economic development entity, and the Ohio Development Services Agency both offered zero explanation as to why.

Absent any official explanation, Pure Romance CEO Chris Cicchinelli has said he believes the state's decision reflects the Kasich Administration's disapproval of Pure Romance's products - which range from lotions to bedroom toys. Emails between top city officials support the suspicion that the state felt uncomfortable with the product line.

While there's no shortage of testimonials saying that Pure Romance's products have helped people's marriages, the real point here is that if John Kasich doesn't like Pure Romance's products, then how about he simply refrains from using them?

The Governor's prudishness also gives occasion to recall some of the products that he himself has peddled, such as toxic financial assets when he was a managing director at Lehman Brothers up until the bank's 2008 collapse.

So never mind Kasich's role in helping usher in the Great Recession - it's lotions and lingerie that apparently offend the Governor's sensibility.

While the state has snubbed Pure Romance, what companies has it felt worthy of major taxpayer subsidies?

Team Kasich gave tax credits and incentives totaling more than $80 million to one Northeast Ohio company that has since laid off over 2,000 Ohioans, and the state has also granted tax exemptions, in perpetuity, to Big Oil totaling millions of dollar a year.

Indeed, Kasich touts these examples as success stories. Yet holding onto a $100 million-plus company that has helped empower tens of thousands of women with work wasn't even worthy of the state giving Pure Romance's CEO an explanation about a $108,000 tax credit?

The ultimate disrespect here, however, is not against Pure Romance.

Both in Cincinnati and across Ohio, roughly 7 percent of the population remains unemployed. Kasich loves talking about jobs - but apparently is silent when an opportunity presents itself to actually help create them.

Not surprisingly, there's been a chorus of outrage against Kasich putting his own moralistic posture ahead of keeping good-paying, professional jobs here in Ohio.

Even the biggest conservative talk radio station in the state lambasted the Governor, with one of 700 WLW's popular daytime hosts saying to Kasich, "These are good jobs. What the hell is the big deal?"

Meanwhile, neighboring Kentucky - apparently feeling less prude - immediately sprung to action with a proposal for Pure Romance that CEO Cicchinelli has described as a "really nice offer."

If Kasich keeps up his anti-jobs behavior, he'll likely have plenty of spare time on his hands when voters boot him from office in November of 2014.

You don't have to work for Pure Romance, Governor, to realize that there's nothing sexy about being anti-jobs.