Review Economic Development Aid

In most schools, a student scoring 63.5 percent on a test would receive an “F.” While that standard probably is too strict for judging the success of taxpayer-funded economic development initiatives, success in fewer than two-thirds of grant and loan programs still should raise eyebrows.

As required by state law, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has completed a report on whether recipients of economic development grants, loans, tax credits and other assistance complied with conditions on which the help was based. Such stipulations range from how many people graduate from vocational training programs to the number of new jobs created by a company getting state help.

DeWine’s office found 162 of 255 recipients of incentives complied substantially with terms and conditions of the aid last year. That is a success rate of 63.5 percent.

That is better than the previous year, when just 59 percent of economic development aid recipients met conditions set for the help.

Still, state legislators may want to consider whether economic development aid is giving taxpayers adequate “bang for the buck.” Ohio can’t afford to hand out money without a reasonable prospect of success.