Saturday, July 05, 2008

Josh Mandel "taking the high road?" You be the judge!

From John Curry, July 3, 2008
Subject: Josh Mandel "taking the high road?" You be the judge!
Retirees, remember the guy who rammed divestment down our throats with the threat of passing a mandatory divestment law (HB 151) that only affected Ohio public retirement systems and not banks, brokerage houses, investment houses, and private individuals? You know...divestment was the right thing to do with our monies but not with anyone else's? Remember how Ohio's 5 pension executive directors cowed (under pressure) to House Speaker Husted and signed onto an agreement of divestiture without the approval of at least one board (the STRS Board) before doing such? Well, apparently the godfather of Ohio's divestment is traveling the globe and some of his backers are taking the "poor mouth" route! Will we be hearing more out of Mandel in the future? I think so...let's hope, if we do, that he only travels the "high road!" John
...from Jill Zimon's blog (Writes Like She Talks)
Josh Mandel faces “tough odds”? Needs $400,000 to win 17th? Who knew.
Posted By Jill Miller Zimon On July 3, 2008
Huge sigh.
First, less than two weeks ago, I came across a local news item in which a clergyperson stated the belief that [1] Ohio State Rep. Josh Mandel (R, Lyndhurst, 17th), had succeeded in passing legislation that would force certain Ohio pension plans to divest from investments in companies with ties to Iran or Sudan.
No such legislation passed, no such law exists. The pensions signed a voluntary agreement and, from what we know, continue to work on plans that would be in compliance with that written agreement. However, no Ohio law was ever passed requiring them to divest.
I contacted Rep. Mandel and I contacted the news outlet. The news outlet issued a correction (it had previously reported on the fact that the bill was getting tabled) and Josh and I had a lengthy conversation about the situation.
(Click here to read entire post.)

Friday, July 04, 2008







Is Chester due for a visual exam?

Our view: Cut the lies; Ohio taxes not out of sight
By Dayton Daily News
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Last weekend former Daytonian Chester Finn Jr. went off on a rant about Ohio in The Wall Street Journal. Important truths were hyperbolically mixed in with patent untruths.
Mr. Finn, who, like The Journal, is no fan of Gov. Ted Strickland, is correct that the state has serious economic problems. But he — with other conservatives — should stop saying Ohio is among the highest-taxed states in the country. He is wrong.
That contention originates with the Tax Foundation, a think tank that gets a lot of mileage from celebrating Tax Freedom Day. It and Mr. Finn say that, in 2007, Ohio had the fifth-highest state and local tax burden.
The Tax Foundation's calculation is complex, and it includes subjective assumptions that experts across the country, not just in Ohio, argue are dubious.
A more straightforward — and the most universally accepted — way of looking at a state's tax burden is noting the amount of state and local taxes people pay per capita, or the percentage of personal income they pay in taxes. On these scores, Ohio has been in the middle of a tight pack.
According to 2006 Census data, Ohioans' state and local tax burden, as a percentage of their personal income, ranked 18th. Note that Kentucky scores seven places higher, but just three-tenths of 1 percent separates Ohio and its neighbor.
On a per capita basis, Ohio did better, coming in at 24th.
In this case, the difference between Kentucky and Ohio is $548. Again, though, many states are bunched together. Kentucky has a much-better sounding — and enviable — 40th-place ranking.
By these measures, there's just no case that Ohio's taxes are widely out of the mainstream.
More important, these 2006 numbers — the latest that are available from the Census Bureau — do not take into account Ohio's well-publicized and major tax cuts. In 2005, individual Ohioans saw the first installment of a 21 percent income tax cut that will be phased in over five years. The last of the annual 4.2 cuts will take effect next year.
Meanwhile, the equivalent tax for businesses — the corporate franchise tax — is being eliminated, disappearing next year. And the tangible personal property tax has been done away with.
These business taxes were replaced by a broadly based commercial activity tax that will result in lower taxes for most Ohio companies. All the projections are that the new CAT tax is a net major tax break for businesses.
These cuts were passed under former Republican Gov. Bob Taft and a Republican legislature, but mostly are taking effect under Gov. Strickland, a Democrat. In other words, it's this administration that's having to hold down spending to pay for the tax cuts. Guess which work is harder?
If, as Mr. Finn suggests, many of Ohio's problems are rooted in its tax rates, it's hard to see how the state is "making all the wrong moves" to reverse its decline. Or maybe Mr. Finn has been gone from his home so long he doesn't know about the tax cuts.
If there's anything Ohio should be rabidly criticized for, it's that political leaders have been slow to invest in higher education — refusing to see the connection between affordable and quality colleges and creating a knowledgeable work force.
Making that commitment, of course, is not free, and Gov. Strickland, as Mr. Finn notes, is backing those investments even as he's having to make budget cuts.
Ohio and its politicians should have to account for the state's shortcomings. But nobody should have to spend precious energy rebutting diatribes that rely on partisan and ideologically-motivated fiction.
From John Curry, 7/4/08

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

30 days hath September, April, June, November, and the time for some Ohio pols & a PAC to give 30K back!

Four GOP candidates will return Brennan contributions
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

David Brennan

Four Republican candidates, including state Auditor Mary Taylor, will refund nearly $30,000 in contributions received from political action committees run by charter-school operator and Akron industrialist David Brennan, in a deal with the Ohio secretary of state’s office.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in April informed Brennan that she believed he illegally funneled the money in 2006 and 2007 to candidates through his Go-Go and Main Street PACs.

Essentially, the problem was that Brennan and his wife, Ann, personally maxed out their contributions to the candidates, and then skirted campaign finance limits by using his PACs — to which they were the sole contributors — to give more money, the secretary of state said.

According to campaign finance records, in 2006, the Brennans each donated $10,000 to the campaigns of Taylor, J. Kenneth Blackwell, a candidate for governor, and Betty D. Montgomery, a candidate for attorney general.

The Brennans then used their two PACs to donate about $20,000 to Ohioans for Blackwell, about $5,000 to the Citizens for Mary Taylor committee and $500 to the Montgomery Campaign Committee, also in 2006.

Campaign finance records show that in 2007, the Brennans each gave the maximum $10,000 to the campaign of Rep. William G. Batchelder, R-Medina. Records show that the two PACs together donated to the Batchelder campaign another $5,250.

The candidates have 30 days to refund the PAC money, and the Main Street PAC must refund $10,670 to Brennan. If the money is refunded, the secretary of state’s office will not pursue the matter before the Ohio Elections Commission.

From John Curry, 7/1/08

Monday, June 30, 2008

John Curry to Rep. Cliff Hite: Tell us where the money will come from!

From John Curry, June 30, 2008
Subject: So Cliff....maybe you can explain where the $$ will come from in the interim!

"Ohio House Republicans who want to eliminate the state income tax should explain how they would fill a $9.1 billion hole in the annual budget. The tax supplies 43 percent of all state revenues." Columbus Dispatch (6-30-08)

Honorable Cliff Hite
State Representative
Ohio's 76th District

Cliff, as my district's Representative maybe you can explain where Ohio's public services such as education, fire, police, and other public services will get operating funds while we're waiting for new businesses to flock to Ohio should this bill become law. Methinks you and some of your other GOP colleagues have taken loss of your senses it just grandstanding in an election year? If you are unable to tell me how this will be accomplished maybe one of your 18 other GOP sponsors of HB 534 can: Adams, Collier, Setzer, Wagner, Brinkman, Dolan, Huffman, Fessler, Zehringer, Goodwin, Bacon, Combs, Batchelder, Hottinger, Uecker, Wachtmann, Widowfield, Coley.

John Curry
A retired public schools educator (just like you, Cliff)
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
web page counter
Vermont Teddy Bear Company