Kasich Toes The Koch Line, Costs Ohio Jobs

September 14, 2015

“It’s going to affect jobs in Ohio.” That’s how a General Electric spox characterized John Kasich’s Koch-driven opposition to the Export-Import Bank.

Today the Columbus Dispatch reports that GE was considering moving their headquarters to Cincinnati, Ohio, but has rejected it because of Kasich’s insistence on toeing the Koch line and opposing authorization of the Ex-Im Bank.

The Kochs have made opposing the Ex-Im Bank a key factor in gaining their support because it benefits the billionaire Kochs’ bottom line, as revealed in a recent Bridge Project Report, “Banking on Obstruction: Koch Profits Behind Opposition to Ex-Im Bank.” While Koch-owned companies have received a modest $16.2 million from the Export-Import Bank, Koch competitors have received massive benefits to the tune of $19.4 billion.

GE’s move to Ohio could have brought hundreds of jobs to the state, but instead of doing what’s best for the Buckeye state, Kasich put the interests of the billionaire Koch brothers first.

Read more from the Columbus Dispatch:

Columbus Dispatch: GE reportedly nixed Cincinnati for new HQ over Export-Import Bank fight

By Jack Torry

WASHINGTON — General Electric rejected a chance to move its company headquarters to Cincinnati because some Ohio Republicans oppose re-authorizing a federal agency that helps U.S. exporters,The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Although the story did not identify the politicians, both Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana oppose retaining the Export-Import Bank, a small federal agency that eases credit for foreign customers buying U.S. products.

GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric, has large production facilities in southwestern Ohio. General Electric has 800 employees at its corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Conn.

The Journal quoted “a person close” to General Electric as saying that company officials examined the voting records of members of Congress in states being considered for a new corporate headquarters, and those records included how lawmakers voted on the Export-Import Bank.

Jordan and a large number of conservatives have opposed the bank, with many arguing that it is a taxpayer handout to large corporations.

By contrast, President Barack Obama; Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; and Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, support the bank.

Rick Kennedy, a GE Aviation spokesman, declined to say whether GE turned down Cincinnati because of Kasich’s and Jordan’s opposition to the bank.

But he said opposition to the bank has “been a highly troublesome matter for us,” pointing out that “GE Aviation is the largest exporter in the state of Ohio. We sell (jet) engines all over the world. And many of those customers need access to the bank’s credit.”

Kennedy said GE Aviation is “highly disappointed in Kasich,” who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. In the past, “we have worked well with John Kasich,” Kennedy said. “On this, we are absolutely disappointed that he cannot see our position. It’s going to affect jobs in Ohio.”

In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who was born in Cincinnati, complained about conservative opposition to the Export-Import Bank, saying, “We look insane to the rest of the world.”

The Senate, despite intense opposition from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, backed reauthorization of the bank in July. The House, however, has not passed the measure even though Boehner warned this summer that “there are thousands of jobs on the line that would disappear pretty quickly if the Ex-Im Bank were to disappear.”

Ray Yonkura, chief of staff to Jordan, said “General Electric is a great American company, but with all due respect, we find it hard to believe that one of the biggest corporations in the world would actually base an important decision like moving their world headquarters on the opinion of a single politician on a single issue.”

Rob Nichols, a Kasich spokesman, said, “We don’t respond to an anonymous, unnamed source close to a company.”

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation