The first thing I heard when I arrived in Chicago after my leisurely drive through Ohio and Indiana was that Detroit had declared bankruptcy.
Rifling through the Chicago Tribune on subsequent days, I read the "common wisdom," a narrative being parroted in many states and cities — that underfunded pension systems are behind government shortfalls, and retirees and future retirees must pay for whatever financial mismanagement has gone on.
Of course, there's talk that pensions for the already retired, who have no other source of income, must be cut, after they have paid their share for decades. It's always irritated me that contractual golden parachutes for CEOs are considered sacred — you always hear that even though so-and-so ran the company into the ground, he has a contract that must be honored — but contracts with ordinary workers exist to be broken.
I read this article on Salon today that crystallized a lot of what I've been thinking. It says that the average "greedy" union public worker retiree in Detroit is receiving $19,000. These are the people they want to extract givebacks from.
This article talks about HOW those pension funds ended up being underfunded, It won't surprise you that the money was extracted to give tax cuts to the wealthy and welfare to corporations.
And then there are the boondoggles.
It didn't help my mood any to read that Detroit is committed to building a nearly $300 million hockey arena.
At the same time, there came the news that Chicago's bond rating ha been downgraded, below Cleveland's even.
*Think Kasich Will Get The Message?*
Today around 100 women (and some men) of all ages gathered on the steps of Cleveland City Hall to send a message to our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, and our legislature, that we are taking notice of the anti-women's reproductive rights measures slipped into the budget bill without public discussion or hearings and quickly signed into law by the governor. And that they have not heard the last of this; in fact, it will snowball as more women become aware of what they did.
The event was organized by burlesque promoter and human dynamo Bella Sin who decided on the spur of the moment when she heard Kasich had signed the measures that opposition needed visibility. She enlisted NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio's Mallory McMaster Ullman and state representative Nickie Antonio, who has been a tireless advocate for reproductive health rights, as speakers.
*Nickie Talks to the Crowd*
The event was attended by seasoned activists like Cuyahoga Democratic Women's caucus chair CIndy Demsey, Shaker Heights Dems president Jane Buder Shapiro and candidate for state representative Anthony Fossaceca, as well as young people with homemade who said they'd seen a post online and felt the urge to be there.
Heh heh. CREW, Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington, has a new report out about governors with ethics issues. It comes up with a full 18 names! In the midst of so much competition — Scott Walker! Rick Snyder! Rick Scott! Rick Perry! Don't vote for anyone named "Rick"! — Kasich is only grouped with five others as a "sideshow," which appears to be the category for governors who should be watched like hawks because of their moves to be nontransparent.
Gov. Kasich will do whatever it takes to keep the public in the dark about the non-profit he created, and played partisan politics with his state’s voting laws.
In February 2011, Gov. Kasich replaced Ohio’s Department of Development with JobsOhio, a private non-profit exempt from public record laws. Gov. Kasich’s administration resisted efforts by the state auditor to procure JobsOhio’s financial records, leading to a subpoena. JobsOhio ultimately complied, but Gov. Kasich later fast-tracked a bill to strip the state auditor’s authority to examine the records.
That just is not likely to have a happy ending for the people of Ohio. Hopefully it will also have an unhappy ending for Taxin' John Kasich next November.
Tomorrow when he gets to work, he will be officially head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and not merely an interim recess-appointed head whose tenure expires at the end of the year.
He was confirmed by a 66 to 34 vote.
Finally, he can do the work many Republicans dread:
Mr. Cordray, 54, and the agency are now set up to regulate interactions between borrowers and lenders, from the largest banks to mom-and-pop payday shops, and the terms of mortgages and student loans among other financial transactions.
It's a great day for ordinary Americans. It's a sucky day to be a financial firm that wants o scam and mislead people.
Also, this puts to bed any speculation that Cordray might return to Ohio to run for governor in 2014. Some diehards were holding out for this, often citing declared candidate Ed FitzGerald's lack of name recognition.
However, this is exceptionally early for a challenger to be running, so that will change. And for Cordray to jump in so many months after Ed had launched his active campaign would have caused confusion and bloodletting that could have helped doom our chances of ejecting Taxin' John Kasich next year.
I wouldn't bet against Cordray running for office again in the future though. That Portman Senate seat, which comes up in 2016, could look mighty tempting to him.
Just about two years ago, President Obama nominated former Ohio treasurer and attorney general Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
This followed the derailing of his nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the bureau she created. That kind of backfired on them when she ran for the U.S. Senate and won. Since then her main issue has been fighting the financial sharks that gouge average Americans, exactly what the bureau was created do to.
But of course, Republicans don't want this done. And they have spent two years using procedural bullying to block Cordray's confirmation, demanding in return for their acquiescence that the bureau be made toothless, in essence, repealing the law that created it by blackmail. Cordray's been heading the bureau under a recess appointment.
This morning, the Democrats in the Senate finally played a little hardball and broke the logjam that prevented Cordray's confirmation from coming to a straight majority vote. As many know, the issue in the Senate has been requiring 60 votes to do virtually anything short of going to the bathroom.
I've had this sitting on my computer desktop for a while now, and keep meaning to post it. This comes from Brian Davis at the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, a long-time Cleveland area organization advocating for homeless rights.
"Homeless Vote in Record Numbers in 2012: 93% registered cast their votes"
Uh-oh. You and I and Husted all know that those were mostly not Republican votes.
An amazing 93% of the 324 people registered through NEOCH’s voting efforts went to the polls to cast their vote in the 2012 Presidential Election which compares to 70% for all Ohioans. NEOCH staff and volunteers hit the streets to ensure individuals who may be struggling to find shelter, food and income were still able to pursue their right and vote.
Brian goes on to say that 47% of that 93% used the shelter address.
I know it by heart: 2100 Lakeside. I was working in the early voting room at the board of elections during the presidential election cycle, pulling ballots, and I pulled that one over and over.
But of course, there's this:
NEOCH’s efforts ran into some difficulty. First, the new process for entering shelters in Cleveland is called “central intake” where there are only one or two doors into any shelter in the city. The staff of central intake did not have the means to register voters, which led to missing many individuals. Secondly, the Ohio Secretary of State’s inconsistency in rule enforcement caused additional barriers for low income voters. By limiting the hours at the Board of Elections, he created long lines in urban counties and college towns, and not allowing weekend voters hurt full time workers.
Ah yes, the voters' friend, the Ohio secretary of state, who would have limited hours even more than he did, if only he could have gotten the U.S. Supreme Court, which he wasted out tax dollars petitioning, had agreed to hear his case and agreed with him.
People complain all the time about voter turnout, how citizens in this country don’t participate at the level they do in other countries. Then they sit around and complain.
So you would think that a state’s highest election official, its secretary of state, would be all about encouraging as many people to vote as possible and making it as easy as possible.
Not Jon Husted! He fought to shut down early voting outside business hours. He went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court attempting to close voting the three days before the election, the heaviest early voting days. He has publicly expressed a desire to make Ohio’s ID laws, despite the absence of any voter fraud that could have been prevented by them, more “onerous.” (His word).
He needs to be replaced. Luckily state senator Nina Turner, a champion for voter rights, has stepped up to run against him.
Today Nina sent out a press release about Husted’s latest battle AGAINST, not for, voters. It shows one more reason why we need to elect Nina and send Husted packing.
COLUMBUS—Today, Nina Turner, Democratic candidate for Ohio Secretary of State, issued the following statement in response to Secretary of State Jon Husted’s opposition to the extension of a 2010 consent decree that allows voters to use the last four digits of the Social Security Number as identification to cast a ballot.
The order, issued by Judge Algenon Marbley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, blocked the implementation of an Ohio law that, in part, would have required voters to produce a form of identification, such as a utility bill, bank statement, or current driver’s license at the polls. Since all of these require financial means to be obtained, it effectively amounts to a modern-day poll tax.
We've seen years and years of attacks now on strong, quality public education in Ohio.
Instead of using the money in the most economical and efficient way, a shrinking pie has been split into duplicative pieces under the deceptive banner of "school choice."
We've seen public schools drained to pay for charter schools, including for-profit charter schools where only a fraction of the money goes to educate kids and a chunk of it goes into the pockets of the management company to make them richer with our tax dollars.
We've seen another hunk of our education dollars go for education welfare checks aka vouchers for a handful of students. These checks, which were originally intended to rescue a few kids from failing schools, were a bad enough idea to begin with, since they go to kids with parents savvy enough to advocate for them, not the neediest kids. Now they are draining the resources of excellent schools to pay for a handful of privileged kids to go to private school at our expense.
The assault on public education in Ohio is as bad as it is anywhere. But it could get worse.
Remember state senator and wife abuser Kris Jordan (R, of course)? Our friends at Plunderbund posted extensively about the incident in which his terrified wife Melissa called 911 about one of his drunken rampages, which she said were regular occurrences. The tape of her encounter with the sheriff's deputies is so chilling I could not watch more than a couple of minutes of it.
Later he bullied her into saying it was all nothing, said patronizingly that "she got a little upset ... girls do that," and blamed the Republican sheriff for scheming against his political career.
Well, this arrogant bully is proposing taking a massive sledgehammer to Ohio school funding.
Today the Cleveland Plain Dealer had a story about Congressional race in Ohio's 6th district next year (mostly in southeastern Ohio.)
This is the district where former state rep. Jennifer Garrison has announced she plans to seek the Democratic nomination, apparently feeling she hasn't done enough damage to the party and its ideals by helping us lose the governorship in 2010.
The PD also focused on state senator Lou Gentile of Steubenville, who has said he is also considering a primary bid. He needs to run! We need to support him! We need to pledge to donate to his campaign!
The seat is currently held by the far right-winger Bill Johnson who defeated the late CHarlie Wilson in 2010 and again last November (Charlie died in February).
But this district, which includes a big chunk of Ohio's Appalachia, and is very poor, is not THAT Republican. Lots of it was Ted Strickland country.
We have related the story of Jennifer Garrison many times, highlighting how she probably helped cost the Democrats the governorship in 2010 with her anti-choice, anti-marriage equality positions costing the party the volunteer hours of many women, and probably LGBT people too, before she was finally pushed off the ticket in early 2010 after six months.
A LOT has changed since 2010 — and none of those changes work in Garrison's favor or make her any more attractive to have weighing us down in Ohio.
People are saying the new Kasich budget is the worst in Ohio's history and one of the worst in the country.
And our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, is so brazen, he clearly thinks he'll get away with stripping women of their rights, helping shield government spending from scrutiny, continuing to cut education funding (except for his buddies who run the dismal, failing for-profit charter schools), and raising taxes on virtually all ordinary Ohioans who aren't blessing with six-figure incomes.
He's a living, breathing pile of liabilities, any one of which should bar his reelection. And unlike some of the doomsters I've talked to, I believe they will.
But it will take work and raising money and , especially, talking to your friends, family and acquaintances until you are blue in the face.
Yes, even that judgmental relative who thinks government should tell women what to do with their bodies. Doesn't he also believe government should get of "his" back and stop making him pay taxes?
Good. You have an opening.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald's campaign has provided you with the talking points you need here:
These are all actual FACTS, not the sort of made-up spew you hear on Fox "News." Please share facts like this one:
Provides the wealthiest Ohioans with an average net tax cut of $6,000 at the same time middle-class Ohioans receive a net $9 break. That’s not a misprint: John Kasich’s tax cut amounts to nine dollars for an Ohioan who makes between $33,000 and $51,000 a year.
and this one:
Eliminates the 30-year-old property tax rollback that saved Ohioans on their property taxes and makes it harder for local governments to pass new levies to fund vital services, including for schools and police and fire protection services.
and this one:
One cares about people, the other doesn't.
Guess which is which.
While this story uses South Carolinian Appalachian trail-walker Mark Sanford's support of defunding the Appalachian Regional Commission as its eye-grabbing slant, the real story is to me is elsewhere.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) is getting a helping hand from Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in his push for an amendment to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is designed to promote economic development in the underserved region.
Yes, it's always about the alleged "waste," the fallback GOP excuse to destroy any government program that helps the neediest. In his testimony, Chabot said,
This inefficiency, duplication and overlap have cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. These commissions were established for one purpose: economic development. Yet the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] and other organizations have found no factual evidence that these commissions have created jobs or improved education or health care."
Sort of like RobsOhio, eh, Steve?
I actually question whether the CBO found what he says, and probably "other organizations" in right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
Then there's the jokey stuff about Sanford, and then this:
After Chabot spoke, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) rose and spoke against the amendment, saying the Appalachian Regional Commission is still sorely needed. She said this lesson hit home for her when she went to southeast Ohio, part of the Appalachian region, for the funeral of former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio). Kaptur said it was difficult "just to try to move through the territory and get to where we were going."
There's this nice l'il Texas lady who introduced the extremist anti-choice measures in the legislature — name is Jodie Laubenberg. R, of course.
She says she's all about protecting the precious "pre-born," and says her bill focuses on "the definite death to the 70,000-plus babies who have been aborted in this state."
Well, except when she's not.
Either she's had a radical change of view since 2007 or she's revealing that the attacks on women don't have the slightest connection to protecting babies or fetuses or "the pro-born," but rather to punishing sinful sluts who have unapproved sex, unlike nice gentile Texas ladies like Jodie Laubenberg.
During a House debate on an appropriations bill that year , Laubenberg, a staunch conservative, put forward an amendment that would require expectant mothers to wait three months before they could begin receiving prenatal and perinatal care under the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, a program that helps cover uninsured children in low-income families.
Laubenberg's amendment drew criticism from Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchia, who said the change would mean that more than 95,000 children, in utero, would be kicked out of the CHIP program. As the two sparred over whether that was true -- Anchia cited CHIP data from hospitals, Laubenberg alleged it was "misinformation" -- Anchia asked if Laubenberg recognized those in-utero babies as people.
"You do know, don't you, that these are U.S. citizens?" Anchia asked.
"But they're not born yet," Laubenberg said.
Laubenberg's response drew a look of shock from Democratic Rep. Dawnna Dukes, who could be seen standing next to Anchia during the exchange.
I can imagine how you feel, Dawnna.
Cleveland comedian Mike Polk Jr. is known for his hilarious videos which have gone viral: his "Hastily Made Tourism Video", "I'm a Stupid Cat," starring his cat, "Factory of Sadness," about the Browns' non-winning ways, and my favorite — "Josh Mandel Campaign Ad Outtakes."
As Polk, channeling Governor Kasich, says at the end, "There you have it. The new laws are just that simple, ladies. Old white Republican men helping Ohio women decide what to do with their vaginas since we egregiously gerrymandered the state in 2010.
Folks, it looks like our state media isn't all that smitten with our governor Taxin' John Kasich's budgetary magic.
Newspaper after newspaper is coming out and condemning its gratuitous assaults on women, its penchant for greater government secrecy, and its across-the-board tax increases on ordinary working people.
The Toledo Blade says "State house gang throws Ohio in reverse: The new state budget is equally regressive as economic and social policy."
The paper's editor David Kushma says,
Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-controlled General Assembly couldn’t be any clearer about where they and their party are taking this state. Ohioans who don’t want to be dragged along for the ride — folks who aren’t rich, women, and anyone else who would rather move forward than backward — need to insist on a different route.
He points out,
The two-year, $62 billion state budget continues the relentless Republican drive to redistribute income to the wealthiest Ohioans from middle-class, working-class, and poor families.
He goes on to roast Republicans for enacting the more extreme and repressive abortion provisions in the country — without any debate, as well as the provision that permits local governmental bodies to make spending decisions behind closed and locked doors.
I do disagree with him on his pessimistic assessment of the Democrats' chances next year when he says,
The Ohio Democratic Party will require every moment until November, 2014, to prove to voters that it is still a force in state politics — if it can, and if it is.
Alright. It's past time for me to roll up my sleeves and tackle the just passed and just signed 2014-2015 state "budget," if that's what you want to call it.
I've already outlined the extreme attacks on women's freedom that were stuffed into the budget, many at the last minute with no hearings or public discussion. Some of the provisions seem to me to cross the line of imposing a set of fringe religious beliefs on the whole state. I understand talks about lawsuits are going on. I'm sure we'll be hearing more.
But there is a ton of other bad stuff in this "budget," stuff that's bound to hurt the state and hurt working people. He's raised property taxes and sales taxes, which hit ordinary people the hardest, and offered a tiny state income tax cut that amounts to pocket change for most Ohioans and feels like window dressing for campaign ads.
Republicans love to talk about "tax and spend Democrats." But Kasich has raised taxes much more than he's cut them, and he's raised them primarily on poor, working and middle class people. The wealthy will cut a nice little present.
What about spending?
This really needs to get more attention.
This new "budget" is $62 billion.
Kasich's last budget, for 2012-2013, was nearly $56 billion.
Governor Ted Strickland's last bidget, for 2010-2011, was for $50.5 billion
Look at those numbers again. WHO is guilty of "tax and spend"?
Remember the alleged $8 billion deficit Kasich claimed Strickland had left behind, which he claimed he fixed with his wise and frugal ways?
How did he do this by INCREASING state spending? And why did the media give him a pass? If it were my job to report o the state budget, I would look at those figures and scratch my head. Actually, I am scratching my head right now at how Kasich thinks he can get away with this "Up is down/Down is up" stuff.
This morning, former attorney general, Republican Jim Petro, release the following statement on marriage equality in Ohio.
“Last year, my daughter Corbin married Jessica Gelman in Massachusetts, where same-gender marriages are legal. They are expecting a child soon, and deserve the same protections guaranteed to other families. Seeing their happiness, and realizing all the rights they would be denied here in Ohio has proven to me the importance of equal marriage in our state.
“I’m thoroughly convinced that bringing marriage equality to Ohio is the right thing to do. This amendment is rooted in a central conservative value, namely, freedom – the freedom to love, the freedom of religion, and the freedom from big government. I am proud to endorse this amendment.”
It's time. I wish the "big guys" among the LGBT groups would stop gnawing their fingernails and waiting for the exact perfect time.
While the disturbing recent assaults on women's rights in Ohio have occasionally made it hard to think about marriage equality, I believe there will be gains across the board if FreedomOhio's marriage amendment is on the ballot next year.
Some of the nervous nellies insist that such an amendment will energize the anti-gay GOP base. But that group is a rapidly shrinking band of dead enders, who could be offset by motivated LGBT voters and an increasing number of Ohioans who think that rights should be shared by everybody.
This issue could, in fact, increase turnout among progressive-minded voters and help us eject Taxin' John Kasich and his cronies from office. And that would be a beautiful thing.
Unfortunately, this site was down on Sunday when, late in the evening, our governor Taxin' John Kasich, and six other middle-aged white men proudly and smugly signed away women's rights in Ohio.
This photo by Karen Kasler of the Statehouse News Bureau has become an icon of the movement that will sweep Taxin' John from office next November.
She should win a Pulitzer Prize.
The stunning thing is that our governor, the legislators, and the state officials in this photo are so brazen and arrogant about their destruction of women's freedom that they couldn't even be bothered to put some window dressing in the photo for plausible deniability. Generally, you try to put lipstick on a pig like this. You call Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor and tell her to rush on over to pose.
These guys just don't care. They've created one of the most extreme sets of antiabortion measures in the country (although other states, like Wisconsin and North Carolina are rapidly following suit) and they did so on the sly, with no hearings, no public discussion. They obviously think they can get away with this. And we are going to stand up and tell them no!
What have they done?
They've changed the standards for awarding family planning money so that agencies are no longer rated on services they deliver and cost — standards by which Planned Parenthood is always at the top of the pack — and they have defunded PP, the only healthcare provider in many parts of the state, especially poorer parts.
Freedom Ohio, the group working to get marriage equality on the 2014 ballot, says it has a new ally that it will make official Monday: former Ohio attorney general Jim Petro.
You may dimly recall Petro from the distant hazy past when Republicans were not all batshit crazy. After serving as a county commissioner in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) — despite the heavy Democratic tilt of the county, he is sane — he became state auditor and then attorney general.
His last stand in running for office was his 2006 bid for governor. Although he was supported by a vast swath of the Ohio GOP establishment, his defeat in the primary by state treasurer Ken Blackwell was an earlier indicator that the party was going to go off the rails. Blackwell turned out the batshit crazy vote in the primary, then lost the general election to Ted Strickland by 22 points. If Petro had been the candidate, the margin would have been in the single digits.
Petro has gone on to do some good things, confirming for the batshit crazy element, I guess, that their fear he was a closet "liberal" were justified. For instance, he worked on the Innocence Project to use DNA testing to exonerate people who were wrongly convicted.
Now this. Anyone remember what the issue was that Blackwell made the centerpiece of his campaign? Right! The evils of gay marriage!
"Blackwell and Rod Parsley Compare Gay Couples to Farm Animals"
Times have changed, Blackwell is gone, Pastor Parsley hasn't been heard from lately (probably too busy marketing Jesus swords or something), and Petro is coming down on the right side of history.
First of all, I apologize to our readers for our site being down at one of the worst times imaginable — between Sunday afternoon and this morning, thanks to problems with our server. That happened while the governor and his six white male cohorts were signing a "budget" bill that strips women of control of their lives and their bodies. Gee, thanks, gov!
We were also down the day (yesterday) Nina Turner finally announced that yes, she IS running for secretary of state, hoping to make Ohio's elections "the gold standard" and to assure that all Ohio's citizens have unimpeded access to the ballot.
With a raft of officials and supporters in the packed room at the Harvard Community Services Center in Cleveland's Ward 1 where she grew up, and flanked by her husband and son, Turner assured the crowd that if she is elected, people across the country won't know the Ohio SoS's name because of headlines about his attempts to shut down voting (That they will know her name because she is outspoken and a favorite guest of national political shows is another thing).
Because she's so meek and self-effacing (HA!), state senator Nina Turner will be traveling around the state early next week making her mysterious "special announcement." See banner above, which was created by Nina herself, hint hint.
She'll be starting Monday morning at 9am at the Harvard Community Services Center in Cleveland, as we mentioned previously.
Then she'll hop in her car and head for Toledo, where she'll repeat her "special announcement" at 12:30 pm at Teamsters Local 20 at 435 S. Hawley Street.
The following day, Tuesday July 2, she'll be heading down to Dayton to make the same (presumably) announcement ay 9am at the Northwest Recreation Center where she'll be joined by former Dayton mayor Rhine McLin, state rep. Fred Strayhorn, and former Montgomery County board of elections member Tom Ritchie. (If you go, please ask them what they are going to do about Montgomery County's dismal election turnout, and also why idiots down there keep voting for Mike "Who?" Turner).
More info here: https://www.facebook.com/NinaTurner.OH
Look. All joking about her transparent ambitions aside, we really need to elect her secretary of state. Currently Jon Husted is trying to gin up phony "voter fraud" cases against voters who followed the law, attacking innocent citizens to try to make him look like some kind of elections warrior, preventing people from gaming the system — never mind that they weren't doing so. This is outrageous.
But the Supreme Court's decision this week weakening the Voting Rights Act means we can no longer afford Republican secretaries of state if we want to have any hopes of free, fair elections in the future.
Please "like" and follow Nina on Facebook.
Not enough can be said about how bad the latest "budget" bill is. Luckily, our Democratic statewide candidates for next year are saying a LOT about it. We need to take their messages and spread the word. For instance, Nina Turner sent out the following email today that is dead on and deserves to be widely disseminated.
OK, I know you're saying "But she hasn't said she'll run!" Look at the above banner that topped her email and tell me you don't think her "special announcement" Monday morning is that she's running for secretary of state. Come on.
The ideologues have taken over and together we must stop them.
Ohio is not a blue state or a red state. We are a purple state full of well-meaning, hard working people with a strong sense of decency and compassion.
Your state legislature and most state leaders are out of touch with Ohio, and the state's two-year budget is proof.
The budget is supposed to be about jobs, good government and fair taxes so we can invest in education and vital public services.
Instead, this budget is an attack on working and middle class families, and women in particular.
The budget gives tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of all of us, and does not create the good paying jobs we need so you can raise your family with a sense of financial security.
Lawmakers had a chance to provide vital healthcare services to 275,000 Ohioans by bringing our tax dollars that go to Washington D.C. back to the state for Medicaid, and they turned this great deal for us down.
This morning in Columbus, Cuyahoga County executive and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald held a press conference and had a few things to say about the new Ohio budget, passed by the general assembly yesterday and now awaiting Governor Taxin' John Kasich's signature.
The budget is bloated beyond belief, filled with tax increases that hit primarily ordinary working people, yet manages to cut funding for some of the state's most crucial needs, including education.
“This budget is just a train wreck for the middle class. What you’re seeing happen is you’re seeing income tax cuts for the very wealthiest people in the state being paid for overall by really increasing overall the tax burden on the middle class and the poor.
Pretty much. There's tax increase after tax increase, both direct and through the back door.
There is one tax cut you'll hear Kasich try to brag about and you'll be wondering why it's so meaningless to you. It's a phased-in 10% income tax cut, which is piddling to anyone who isn't making a health six figures.
But there's a sales tax increase.
There's a property tax increase since it eliminated the 12.5% portion of a levy the state has been paying — this on top of the wave of new levies because of the money the state took away from local governments and schools in the last budget to fuel the governor's crony-rewarding schemes.
There's also the elimination of a property tax cut that former Governor Ted Strickland gave to seniors, exempting a portion of their homes from property taxes. And while some objected to the fact that this exemption was extended to all seniors regardless of need, Kasich's budget now eliminates it for any senior making more than $30,000 a year.
Two and a half years ago, Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was one of 19 people shot (six fatally) at a "meet the congresswoman" event at a supermarket in her district.
Her head wound was so serious that she resigned her congressional seat a year later. Since then, she and her husband astronaut Mark Kelly have been campaigning vigorously for sane gun laws, the kind a huge majority of Americans support — but not the NRA, whose only goal is to sell more guns to anyone who wants to buy them, no matter how unbalanced.
As part of their national Rights and Responsibilities tour, Giffords and Kelly will be in Cincinnati on Independence Day. And they'll be part of the Norhside Fourth o July parade.
Big news today. Former Congress member Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly are coming to Cincinnati for the Fourth of July.
The Hamilton County Democratic Party sent out an email saying,
A few volunteers are sought to march in the parade in support of her stand. If you are wiling to help, please call  421-0495 or reply to this e-mail. [email@example.com]
The Northside parade happens at noon on the Fourth and runs down Hamilton Avenue in the heart of Northside. It's always a spectacle, but this year should one to remember.
Because one terrible GOP governor isn't enough, we'll briefly have a second one in state Friday when Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico comes to Ohio to be the main speaker at the Ohio Republican Party's annual dinner.
Martinez is being touted as a rising star in the GOP, which of course she would not be except for the fact that Republicans are desperate to appeal to women and Hispanics but don't want to change policies that hurt them.
The Democratic Party of New Mexico is putting us on alert, asking "Is Governor Martinez the most cold-hearted governor in America?"
Well, now. I feel your pain, New Mexico, but there is some serious competition for that title. Scott Walker (Wisconsin), Rick Scott (Florida), Rick Snyder (Michigan) and of course, our very own Taxin' John Kasich, who is preparing to crush small homeowners with onerous property tax increases to shovel into the pockets of Ohio's wealthiest citizens and strip women of control of their lives.
But the DPNM does provide some impressive ammo to make the case for Martinez..
A new report, just issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, found New Mexico 50th,for the first time and in last place among all states for the well-being of children. In each of the measured categories: economic well-being, health, education, family and community support of children, New Mexico came in at number 49 and when all categories were totaled—last place.
According to the DPNM press release, Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, has called her a "job creator."
Hmmmm ... what about this, Matt?
"New Mexico Loses More Jobs" (December 21, 2012)