Group: Ohio needs to lobby for military jobs

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio needs an agency that would help put the state at the forefront of military development and lobby for its current bases, a statewide committee recommended.

The state task force appointed last year said Ohio needs to be ready in case Congress revisits shrinking or realigning military operations around the country. The office would work solely on protecting and bringing jobs to its U.S. military bases and installations.

Ohio is behind other states that already have set up offices that lobby the federal government for its military bases, the task force said Tuesday.

“Many other states have already made this move and are working at an advantage,” said retired U.S. Air Force Col. Cassie Barlow, a member of the committee.

The head of the task force, Republican Rep. Rick Perales of Beavercreek, introduced legislation that calls for establishing an office of government and military affairs in Ohio.

The independent agency would report to the governor and could authorize loans or grants to defense or NASA operations in Ohio.

“I don’t care how much this costs, the return on investment is going to be huge,” Perales said.

Ohio has 60,000 military jobs and 50,000 related jobs with an estimated payroll of $5 billion.

The last base realignment and closure review by Congress in 2005 brought more than 1,100 jobs to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, which is the state’s largest military site with about 27,000 employees.

Other sites include the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, NASA Glenn Research Center near Cleveland, Lima Army Tank Plant and Toledo Air Guard Station.

But committee members said Ohio may have missed out on getting more jobs and questions have been raised about why the state doesn’t get a bigger share of defense contracts given its size.

Around the state

TOLEDO (AP) — A former candidate for mayor in Ohio has been sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison for stealing millions from a company that provided job training to local residents.

A judge sentenced 56-year-old James Moody Tuesday for his role in a scheme involving Business Rehabilitation Informed Decisions Guiding Employment Strategies, known as BRIDGES.

The Blade reports Moody was the company’s sole shareholder, and prosecutors say he and three others skimmed 42 percent of the $15 million in contracts the company had with Lucas County.

Prosecutors say the men spent the money on houses, cars, vacation and cosmetic surgery.

Moody said after his sentencing hearing that he is apologizing “the money that was stolen under my watch.”

COLUMBUS (AP) — A ballot proposal to cap Ohio’s interest rates on payday loans and impose additional regulations on the industry is advancing to its next step.

The state Ballot Board is set to consider the “Short-Term Loan Consumer Protection Amendment” Tuesday. The panel must determine whether the proposed language represents a single issue.

The board’s approval would allow the gathering of signatures to begin. The Ohio Attorney General’s office certified a petition summary last week.

The Ohio CDC Association, which works to improve neighborhoods, is pushing the measure. It aims to reduce some of the nation’s highest interest rates on short-term loans by capping them at no more than 28 percent.

Ohio voters approved payday lending limits in 2008, but the industry has found ways to bypass those restrictions.

The Associated Press