By Mark Niquette
The private Ohio nonprofit group backed by Gov. John Kasich to create jobs is using the state’s wholesale liquor enterprise it acquired last year to make loans and grants to companies, the organization said.
They are the first complete projects that Jobs Ohio has funded since it purchased the state’s liquor business in 2013 for 25 years, spokeswoman Laura Jones said by email.
A related entity issued $1.5 billion in bonds backed by liquor profits to finance the franchise.
The nonprofit awarded $1.28 million to Updox in suburban Columbus, which provides services to doctors, and four other companies to keep or add jobs, according to a February report.
The goal is to give Ohio an edge over other states in retaining and recruiting companies.
Opponents have challenged the JobsOhio organization in court, saying it violates the state constitution by funneling public dollars to a private organization.
Taxable JobsOhio bonds maturing in January 2035 traded last week at an average yield of 4.82 percent, or about 1.59 percentage points more than benchmark AAA municipal bonds, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
It was the least extra yield that investors demanded on the securities this year, the data show.