COLUMBUS: Ohio’s nonprofit job-creation entity and the corporation it created through rights to state liquor proceeds received a clean fiscal bill of health in an independent audit Friday.
KPMG’s review of JobsOhio and JobsOhio Beverage System comes as financial questions continue to swirl around the economic engine of Gov. John Kasich’s administration, including over the business ties of some of its directors.
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, a fellow Republican, is conducting his own audit of the office that incorporates some funds JobsOhio said were private and thus off-limits to the state auditor. Yost obtained the records under threat of a subpoena.
Yost said this week that his staff would be visiting JobsOhio on Friday. He said he expects to complete the audit soon.
The KPMG audit out Friday covered the fiscal year that ended June 30, during which the beverage system issued $1.5 billion in bonds to purchase a 25-year exclusive franchise of Ohio’s liquor business.
The beverage system reported a $129 million deficit after transferring liquor profits to JobsOhio to be used for operations and economic development loans and grants. Business awards have not yet begun flowing.
JobsOhio’s revenues for the period rose from roughly $6.2 million to $188 million, while liabilities rose from $715,000 to more than $1.3 million.
Operating expenses also rose, from $4.4 million to $5.5 million, which management attributed to “continuing to add employees and build its professional team.”
JobsOhio paid nearly $2.6 million in salaries and benefits for the year, up from $2 million the previous year, and close to $1 million for professional services, down from $1.7 million. It spent $511,000 on marketing and, between JobsOhio and the beverage system, more than $400,000 on travel.
Spokeswoman Laura Jones said the audit confirms JobsOhio is in a strong fiscal position.
She said it expects to begin awarding grants and loans soon. Jones said the policies and procedures for that program have taken some time to complete.
Under Kasich, the state Legislature created JobsOhio to replace the Ohio Department of Development. The first-term governor wanted a job-creation entity that was more nimble.