Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Budget’

Is Home Rule Homeless?

June 19, 2017

The recent news out of the Ohio legislature is the bait and switch (again) of the local government fund to balance the state budget. Jackie Borchardt, for Cleveland.com (6-16-17), headlines Ohio Budget Pulls $35 Million from Cities to Spend on Opioid Crisis. “Combined with a provision to give money to villages and townships, the budget halves the state’s local government revenue stream directed to the 614 of Ohio’s 940 municipalities that levy an income tax. Cities, counties, villages and townships were already anticipating an $89 million hit over two years because of declining state revenues.” Essentially, in exchange for agreeing to levy income tax on their residents (and guest workers) cities were promised a chunk of the state funding (“Senate GOP spokesman John Fortney said the city-specific funding is a “bonus payment” that would be better spent on treatment programs for people addicted to opiates”) Borchardt provides background perspective: “The fund was established in 1934 in a deal with local governments to create the state sales tax. When the state began collecting personal income tax in 1972, the legislature agreed to give a share to municipalities because the new state tax would make it more difficult to raise local taxes.” “In 2011, Kasich slashed the local government fund in half to help patch an $8 billion budget hole. The fund went from 3.68 percent of the state’s general revenue fund in 2011 to 1.66 percent today. The last state budget diverted $17 million from the city-specific funding stream to pay for statewide law enforcement office training and a state database tracking shootings involving officers. It also temporarily redirected about $24 million to townships and villages.” Reporting for the State House News service (6-14-17) Andy Chow headlines Local Government Group Criticizes Latest Budget Proposal. “Local governments are likely to see a loss of $150 million in funding from just the local government fund distribution and projects. The Ohio Municipal League’s Kent Scarrett says there are a lot of seemingly small changes in the Senate budget bill that could result in big cuts.” Unrelated, but certainly intimately connected and very relevant to the state legislature budgeting process is the continued legal struggle over Cleveland’s Fannie Lewis law. 6-15-17 Robert Higgs updates the situation with National Coalition Joins Cleveland Fight to Save Fannie Lewis Law (Cleveland.com). “Named for the longtime Cleveland Councilwoman Fannie Lewis, the city ordinance was enacted more than a decade ago to help combat poverty and to ensure that residents participate in the city’s economic development – and share in its prosperity.” “The Fannie Lewis law requires that on projects of $100,000 or more, at least 20 percent of construction hours be performed by Cleveland residents. At least 4 percent of that work must be done by residents considered to be low-income. Failure to meet the requirements results in a fine equal to 1/8 of 1 percent of the total contract cost for each percentage by which the contractor misses the goal.” “A year ago the Ohio General Assembly approved a bill that would have barred cities from enacting local hiring regulations in contracts for public improvements as Cleveland’s Fannie Lewis law does. Gov. John Kasich signed the bill into law last May. Cleveland sued the state last August, shortly before the law was to take effect, claiming it violated home rule powers guaranteed in the Ohio Constitution. In January, Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Russo issued a permanent injunction that blocks the state from ever enforcing the law. That led to the state’s appeal.” “The Campaign to Defend Local Solutions on Tuesday filed a brief in the 8th District Ohio Court of Appeals arguing in favor of the city’s position.” “”Cities across the country are under attack by overreaching state legislatures, and a preemption threat to one city is a threat to all,” Michael Alfano, campaign manager for the coalition, said in a statement. “Whether in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, or North Carolina, the rights of cities like Cleveland to enact laws that reflect community values must be defended.”” Analysis finds there to be no coincidence that one of the “national conversations” currently ongoing (after the 2016 presidential election) is over the urban/rural cultural divide. It likewise is no coincidence that cities are gerrymandered (and isolated) with Democratic party expectations by GOP dominated state legislatures (currently in the majority across most of America). Likewise, Analysis finds it no coincidence that “cities across the country” are effected by such budgeting. Remember ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) of which Ohio’s governor and legislators are members? You know, the lobbying group that offers legislative templates that legislators have copied verbatim, even forgetting to change the name of the state to their own for which they are making law. Alfano raises suspicions as to the origins of such budgeting solutions. From ALEC’s home website’s “State Budget Solutions”: “Smart budgeting is vital to a state’s financial health. The ALEC State Budget Reform Toolkit offers more than 20 policy ideas for addressing today’s shortfalls in a forthright manner, without resorting to budget gimmicks or damaging tax increases.” Newark, of course, is at one with all this. Mayor Hall chose not to involve himself with the Ohio Municipal League’s initial complaint on Governor Kasich’s original budget manipulation, and the city council prefers to constantly defer to the state on most matters, even ones that have been voted on by its citizens through a ballot initiative (think marijuana, medical as well as misdemeanor). So much for getting the roads paved any time soon (but there will be a new bridge over 16 with “Downtown” written on it, in case one is lost).

Opposites Attract

February 15, 2017

The popular colloquialism is that opposites attract. During the run up to the presidential election, and beyond, presidential wannabe and Ohio Governor John Kasich has consistently put on the armor of righteousness, of being the adult in the room (on the debate stage, on the ballot, etc.). He has and continues to present himself as the sensible alternative, the opposite of the ilk of our 45th president. But is this actually the case? Analysis finds “Kasich: Enough with the ‘Rust Belt’” by Julie Carr Smyth (AP 2-13-17) to reveal some mirroring appearing within this self-aggrandizing differentiation. “”We’re a big manufacturing state. But we also want to change the image of Ohio into something from the Rust Belt to the Knowledge Belt,” Kasich said during an Associated Press forum this month.” The following day (2-14-17) the AP headlined Study Ranks Ohio Near The Bottom For College Affordability (Ohio Public Radio Jo Ingles). “A new study ranks Ohio in the bottom five of all 50 states in college affordability. The study also shows just over 4 in 10 Ohioans have a post-secondary degree.” “William Doyle with Vanderbilt University says the state needs to make more need based aid available. “Families making less than $30,000 a year would need to pay 81% of their income to attend a public four-year research institution in Ohio. That’s including the grant aid they receive.”” None to be found with the Ohio Governor’s recent 2 year “recession” budget. It certainly doesn’t reflect that, or consider those findings (“The group says without making college more affordable, the state’s economy will suffer from a lack of skilled workers.”). What does the Ohio Governor propose to form this “Knowledge Belt” with? Chrissie Thompson, with Cincy’s The Enquirer, headlines Kasich: Teachers should job shadow with businesses to renew licenses (2-14-17). “Too many students, he says, leave high school to pursue college degrees that cost a fortune and don’t prepare them for realistic, good-paying jobs. “Are our schools preparing our students in a real way?” he [John Kasich] said at a recent event honoring innovative schools. “Never let the education get in the way of learning.”” Chrissie Thompson asks “How much money schools would get under John Kasich’s plan”? She considers the very real existence of school districts without a plethora of successful (and hiring) businesses, as well as teachers (like kindergarten) that would benefit more from successful business owners coming to their class and “teaching” the kids about what they do (rather than the teacher spending the day at the plant). But Kasich’s budget proposals doesn’t make large increases in K through 12 education. Indeed, he would like to see state financial backing cut to districts that have fewer students (no matter that the actual geographic district hasn’t shrunk). With the national election run up he touted the miracle Ohio economic recovery while post election it is Gotham City gloom and doom recession (shades of the presidential inauguration speech Batman!). Does he know something he’s not saying? “Where Have All The Young Kids Gone? Many Ohio Schools are Experiencing Enrollment Decline.” SHP Blog Dan Roberts (4-24-14). “The student population in Ohio is dwindling. In a recent story appearing in a Sunday edition of the Columbus Dispatch entitled, “Shrinking Environment,” written by Dispatch Reporter Charlie Boss, the student population in Ohio is expected to be reduced 2% by 2018.” A clever way to promulgate Ohio’s “responsible”, “performance based” K-12 education funding while at the same time cutting back on spending! Now about that “Knowledge Belt”, is this as a hold up or as a fashion accessory buy out from the 45th president’s daughter’s collection?