Fewer companies in compliance with Ohio tax incentive programs

Fewer companies are holding up their end up of the deals they have struck with the state of Ohio for financial incentives they have received in return for creating and retaining jobs.

Among the companies found not to be in compliance: IBM and Bob Evans Farms.

An annual report released by Attorney General Mike DeWine this week shows a compliance rate of 78.3 percent for 2016, down from 84.8 percent for 2015 and 78.9 percent in 2014. The state began issuing the report in 2010.

The latest report covers 272 awards for tax credits, loans, grants and worker-training incentives worth about $181.5 million. The awards came to an end in 2016.

“While we are always looking for ways to improve compliance, from time to time, businesses may fall short on their commitments due to unanticipated factors. In those cases, the Development Services Agency is proportionally reducing benefits or clawing back awards that have been made,” said David Goodman, director of the state agency, in a letter that is part of the report.

IBM promised to create 500 jobs and retain 671 others for a project in Dublin. While it did retain the jobs it promised, the company added just 186 new jobs. The company voluntarily terminated the deal with the state.

Bob Evans Farms received three incentives in 2011 when the restaurant and food company moved its headquarters from Columbus’ South Side to New Albany. This year, the company was split into separate food and restaurant companies, both of which were later sold.

As part of the move, Bob Evans promised to create 150 jobs, but added just 54. The company has agreed to pay off a loan it received by the end of this year and voluntarily terminated another part of the agreement.

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