A major economic boon for Ohio may already exist

All governors of Ohio, past, present and future, aspire to create a healthy economic climate. They all work diligently to attract major enterprises with the capacity to have a significant impact on the state’s economy.

In a dream, one of these distinguished governors is excited because after great effort of his own, his staff, members of the General Assembly and key business leaders across the state, it appears that a truly major enterprise is about to locate in Ohio.

Job generator

This clean, high-technology enterprise is part of a global conglomerate with nearly $1 trillion in annual revenues, of which about $300 billion is in the U.S.

It has proposed an investment in Ohio that is expected to generate $10 billion in annual revenues, just in Ohio, and it will locate facilities in about 175 municipalities across the state for a net capital investment of some $20 billion.

What is more, it will create about 140,000 jobs for Ohioans, with an unusually high percentage of those jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree and about 30,000 of those jobs requiring advanced training in science and engineering at the master’s or doctoral level.

In Northeast Ohio alone, the company will have 22 locations, creating 25,000 jobs and generating about $3 billion in annual revenues.

This enterprise expects to have about 750,000 primary customers across the state, will attract outside investments of nearly $2 billion annually and many of its activities will develop new technologies that, in turn, will create many new companies.

Already, this enterprise enjoys hundreds of thousands of stockholders in Ohio, with the prospect of a healthy rate of growth in the percentage of individual investors. Of course, thousands of Ohio suppliers will benefit from this enterprise, and the net economic impact to Ohio is calculated to begin at about $35 billion per year and to grow annually at the rate of 15 to 25 percent.

Waking dream

As the dream unfolds, the director of the Ohio Department of Development rushes into the governor’s office and proclaims excitedly, “We got it! We got it!”

Everywhere, celebrations break out and chrome-plated shovels and construction helmets are readied for all of the groundbreaking photo opportunities across the state. The media is ecstatic and showers the governor with a running stream of praise in their editorials and on front pages.

Success after success continues to unfold in the dream and then, as morning breaks, the governor wakes up to find that such an enterprise is already a reality in Ohio — higher education.

Every governor has lived for such an announcement, particularly around election time. Since the dream I have just related is already a reality, we can and should ask why most of the public, many legislators and business leaders alike seem so woefully in the dark that they fail to support investment in this major economic driver.