This morning I got an email titled "Historic Partnership for Ohio."
Well, that sounded exciting. And it was coming from Equality Ohio, so I knew it wasn't about a bunch of teabagging groups with the word "liberty" in their names coming together to defend their guns!
I then read this interesting message:
Today, Equality Ohio, the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announce a powerful statewide coalition to win full equality in Ohio.
Why? Because we know these simple truths:
Ohioans must be free to live without fear of discrimination at home, at work and in our communities
Ohio students must be free to go to school without the threat of harassment or violence
Ohio couples, including same-sex couples, must have the freedom to marry the person they love
Can we do this? Yes. But not without your help. Sign our petition and share it.
This LGBT coalition brings together the best strategic thinkers from across the country. And we are uniting the best tactical teams available anywhere.
We will not act prematurely.
We will not be distracted.
We are relentless.
We won't stop until full equality is won.
This is Our Equality. Our Ohio.
Hmmmm. If you have been following what we've written in the last year about FreedomOhio and the drive to put marriage equality on the ballot, you know that the big LGBT organizations have been dragging their feet.
The movement in Ohio was started by a handful of grassroots organizers who have been building a movement of other grassroots organizers. At many points along the way, they have been discouraged by the big boys, some of whom have cautioned them that now is not the time.
You know how our governor, Taxin' John Kasich, love to take credit for reviving the economy and creating lots and lots of jobs? Never mind that the Official Party Line of the GOP is "government doesn't create jobs."
As we all know, Taxin' John opposed the auto industry bailout and former congresswoman Betty Sutton's Cash for Clunkers legislation, which together may have saved as many as several hundred thousand jobs in Ohio, a state heavily dependent on the auto industry. Without those jobs, there would be nothing for our governor to boast about.
Maybe he'd like to peruse this morning's newsletter from Senator Sherrod Brown, who actually can legitimately take credit for helping to protect Ohio jobs. Normally, I don't post such communiques in their entirety. But this one is significant in light of Taxin' John's egregiously erroneous claims for himself and his as-yet-unfunctioning JobsOhio scam.
450 Jobs Returning to Cleveland’s Engine Plant
Ford Motor Company announced last week that it will invest nearly $200 million and add 450 new reshored jobs at its Cleveland Engine Plant which produces the 2.0-liter EcoBoost. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown praised the nearly $200 million investment, which will officially move production of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine for North American vehicles from Valencia, Spain to Cleveland, Ohio.
“The demand for the EcoBoost is a testament to the strength of Northeast Ohio manufacturing and our auto supply chain,” said Sen. Brown. “Ford’s expansion not only boosts jobs and the economy in our state, but proves that you should always bet on the American worker.”
Today's Columbus Dispatch has a story headlined "Same-sex marriage likely to be on ballot."
It starts "It’s all but certain that Ohioans will vote this fall on a constitutional amendment seeking to overturn the 2004 state ban on same-sex marriage."
This isn't news to those of us who have watched the grassroots movement now dubbed FreedomOhio snowball since its formation a little over a year ago. Some of the big players in the LGBT movement have tried to put the brakes on it, prioritizing states where they feel it's more of a "sure thing" to pass. But the movement in Ohio has just kept growing.
When even the Columbus Dispatch acknowledges that it's likely to succeed in getting on the ballot, well then, it most likely will.
Ian James, one of the people who launched the campaign in Ohio last January, told the Dispatch, "We will qualify (for the ballot) in over 50 counties. We will have the signatures to file by July 3. ... We would do this no matter when it appears on the ballot.” (The group can decide whether it wants to submit the signatures for this year or wait until next year; signatures are good indefinitely as long as the voter doesn't move, die or otherwise become ineligible to vote).
Can it pass? We'll see. The landscape is changing rapidly on this issue.
Of course, this was predictable:
Phil Burress, head of Citizens for Community Values and the architect of the same-sex marriage ban, said he’s ready for a fight.
“We are building our campaign and contacts in all 88 counties and in churches all across Ohio,” he said.
“We realize the man from the Obama campaign[Greg Schultz, OFA's Ohio director] has joined their team, but this is not election for president. This is about marriage.”
I attended a very interesting presentation today at Case Western Reserve University by Karen Beckwith a political science professor at the university. Her topic: The Widening Party Gap in Electing Women to Congress
I probably don't need to tell you which side of the gap each party is on.
Dr. Beckwith opened by offering figures to show what is going on. She said that until 1990, both the major parties elected about the same percentage of women — a very dismal, nearly invisible one. But as the percentage of women in Congress started to slowly creep upward to where it is today — 20% of the Senate, 17.7% of the House — they started to diverge. She provided figures that showed that while Democrats continue to make steady, if slow, gains, Republican women as a percentage of their delegation have decreased, falling from a high of just over 10% back into the single digits. Women comprise more than 20% of their delegation. Of the 20 women U.S.Senators, 16 are Democrats. 58 of the 77 women in the House are Democrats.
Many of us know the numbers well. I was most interested in hearing Beckwith's explanation — or conjecture — as to why the gap exists. Some of the obstacles to women running — they often wait until their families have grown, as Nancy Pelosi did; they may not have the same network of potential donors that men do — shouldn't have a party bias. Beckwith suggested that the fact that the gender gap in voters — with women voting more Democratic — might be one explanation, although she added that there is no proof that voters will necessarily favor a candidate of the same gender.
She offered up another theory that I found really intriguing. She said that people tend to perceive women candidates as more liberal than men. She added that if Republicans thought strategically, it could give them an edge if they ran women in swing districts or districts that lean only slightly Republican, whether the candidate really IS more moderate or not.
State Senator Nina Turner spoke to a full house tonight at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center in Shaker Heights.
The centerpiece of her presentation was her Voter Protection Act, which would eliminate barriers that make voting more difficult for some voters than for others. It includes makes registering more accessible, guaranteeing a certain number of early voting hours, increasing the number of early voting centers in larger counties, making universal mailing of absentee ballot applications permanent, and clarifying provisional voting regulations.
House minority leader Armond Budish was in the house so Turner called him up front to join her in talking about the governor's budget, which she called "troubling" and he called "not good." They talked about the short shrift it gives to schools and local governments and how, while he brags that it didn't cut anything, it fails to restore the hurtful cuts he made in the last budget.
They also talked about redistricting. Budish said, "Nothing is more important than redistricting in my opinion." They discussed the potential methods of accomplishing this, either legislatively or possibly through the commission meeting to revise the state constitution.
Last March, Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (Oh-11) and Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette held a press conference out in Slavic Village to announce legislation they planned to introduce. It proposed to issue bonds to pay for the demolition of abandoned housing that was beyond repair in order to help shore up the values of the surrounding occupied homes and improve the communities.
LaTourette has retired from Congress, and the bill, which would have incurred no cost and required no new money, never got anywhere. Fudge says now that's because it was a low priority in Washington during an election year in which everybody was busy back home campaigning (We need to do something about that too, but that's a different story!)
Fudge has not given up on the idea, however. And today she held a press conference with two new colleagues from the Cleveland area: Republican David Joyce, who replaced LaTourette in Oh-14, and Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, whose district was infamously drawn all the way to Cleveland.
*Fudge, Kaptur & Joyce*
The trio, along with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Zack Reed, councilman of ward2 where the event was held, Rich Cochran of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and Williams Whitney of the CuyahogaCounty Landbank, spoke about the bill which they're calling the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act of 2013, how it works, and what it would do.
Today the League of Conservation Voters released its 2012 Environmental Scorecard, ranking legislators in D.C. on a variety of environment-related issues.
The scores of Ohio's senators and representatives probably will not surprise you.
Starting at the top, Ohio's two senators have wildly divergent scores. Sherrod Brown scores 93%, while Portman comes in at a weak 21%. But that's not as bad as some of his Republican colleagues in the House, many of who probably either don't believe there ARE any issues with the environment and that climate change is all nonsense, or they think Jesus is coming back soon so it doesn't matter (No, seriously — there are those on the far right who feel this way, including President Reagan's Secretary of the Interior James Watt.)
Look at some of these scores to see who is the enemy of protecting our Earth for future generations:
Steve Chabot: 14%
Jim Jordan & Pat Tiberi: 11%
Alleged "moderate" Steve LaTourette and Jean Schmidt (both now out of Congress): 9%
Bob Latta, Mike Turner, Steve Stivers, Jim Renacci, Bobb Gibbs & Bill Johnson: 6%
The worst of the worst of the worst: John Boehner, whose score somehow managed to be -1%.
On the other end of the spectrum, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur and Tim Ryan all score 80% or better. Ryan has a lifetime score of 90%, Marcia Fudge has a lifetime score of 93%. Betty Sutton's is 91%. Alas, she was defeated in November by Jim Renacci whose lifetime score is 6%.
Boehner's lifetime score is 2%. Hey Boehnhead, didn't anyone tell you that wrecking the environment could have a negative impact on all those golf courses you spend so much time on?
You can check out the scorecard for yourself here: http://scorecard.lcv.org/
Our 2014 statewide candidate slate may come together quicker than we think. It's all fine and well to mull over the names of dream candidates or fantasize about contested primaries. But the reality is A. lots of "ideal" candidates won't run for personal reasons that won't allow them to commit the time & energy to non-stop crisscrossing of the state and B. all of the candidates need time to build statewide name recognition, the more time the better.
Deep in the heart of blood-red southwest Ohio is bloody, bloody Warren County (home of the infamous 2004 election-night "homeland security" alert that locked down the board of elections there). The place is crawling with Republicans. You may find one splattered on your windshield if you're ever driving through.
It's also home to an intrepid and determined little band of Democrats, the Warren County Democratic Party. Like many county parties, they're having an annual fundraising dinner. But they're not just bringing some local Democratic county officeholder (do they have one?) to speak. They have snagged one of the most likely candidates in every statewide race next year as a guest speaker:
If you are in southwest Ohio and you want to get a sneak preview of what our 2014 ticket could very well very look like, you don't want to miss this event. Your $75 will go to a good cause: turning over rocks and ferreting out hidden potential Democratic voters in this neck of the woods. And yes, they DO exist.
RSVP here: https://wcdp.webconnex.com/spring2013
While we wait with not-too-bated breath for video or a transcript of Governor Kasich's State of the State speech in Lima tonight, I've been perusing another speech delivered today in Cleveland: county executive Ed FitzGerald's annual State of the County address.
As pretty much every political observer knows, FitzGerald is openly exploring a run for governor. He's been traveling around the state, making high profile appearances at various Democratic gatherings. He says he'll make a decision by March.
How would he be compared to Kasich? Well, his speech is organized and coherent, for a start. It's full of clear descriptions of how he has worked in cooperation with various groups, including unions, to make county government more efficient, with the Justice System Reform Task Force to upgrade people's trust in the justice system here, and with the county's 59 municipal entities to end costly poaching of businesses across city lines.
He talks about fiscal responsibility, employee performance reviews, and making county government oversight permanent by amending the charter to make the position of inspector general permanent — something the much-vaunted charter did not do, because of course it was never really intended to prevent corruption. Ed did that on his own.
He also talks about Pre-K, college scholarships, prisoner re-entry programs and service consolidations.
What he does not talk about is "philosophy" or a rigid ideology of any kind. He doesn't bluster or call out opponents. He talks about working with diverse interest groups to find solutions to problems. We haven't seen that in the governor's office sine Ted Strickland packed up and went home. And it's what we need.
You can read Ed's speech here:
There's also a PowerPoint presentation.
I assure you it's a lot more uplifting and positive and a lot less stomach-churning than whatever Kasich said this evening.
Has the word "patriot" ever been more misused than when it's connected to the words "Tea Party"? These ultra-extremists radiate their hatred of American when they project their hatred of every aspect of its government, because the entity of "America" is synonymous with its government. And if you believe that the country should have no functional government, you don't believe in the country — you're a traitor.
Here in Ohio, this crazy-ass hate group is "warning" the Republican leaders in Columbus to oppose one of the only pragmatic and functional things Governor Kasich has proposed in the last two years: expanding Medicaid.
Since it works to build a functioning society, they're against it. And as I mentioned last week, the Ohio Tea Party has found itself a mouthpiece in the person of Ohio's pretend treasurer, Josh 'The Empty Suit" Mandel, who will stand for anything, no matter how vile, if he sees potential personal advancement for himself in it.
Meanwhile, the Tea Party is going off the rails all over the country.
John McCain is attacked by hate-crazed Tea Party members at a meeting in Phoenix, when he floated some relatively severe but not totally horrific immigration regulations. Apparently, nothing short of lynching anyone who looks Mexican will do for some of these folks. It's actually not clear that this mob were formally Tea Partiers, but in Arizona, it's hard to tell. This is, after all, the state that keeps re-electing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who thinks it's more important to send representatives to Hawaii to investigate the President's birth certificate than to protect the people of his county.
And finally, there's this — talk about eating their own!
While established LGBT groups focus on what they see as "sure thing" states, pushing Ohio to the back of the line, marriage equality advocates in Ohio — organized as FreedomOhio — are pushing onward, working to gather the signatures to get the issue on the state ballot.
FreedomOhio has picked up some significant support in the last few weeks. Yesterday it announced that Greg Shultz, who was the Ohio director for the Obama campaign — which you will recall was successful — has joined its board of directors.
“Every adult should be permitted to marry the one he or she loves. As a member of the FreedomOhio Executive Committee, I look forward to collaborating with LGBT, Civil Rights, faith and business leaders to ensure we pass this vital Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment,” Schultz said.
And last Friday, FreedomOhio sent this out:
OHIO DEMOCRATIC PARTY
ENDORSES FREEDOMOHIO'S FREEDOM TO MARRY AMENDMENT
COLUMBUS – Ian James, FreedomOhio co-founder, thanked the Ohio Democratic Party and its Chairman Chris Redfern for endorsing FreedomOhio's Freedom To Marry and Religious Freedom amendment Saturday.
“We cannot thank Chairman Redfern enough for his leadership and the Ohio Democratic Party family for their support for the Freedom To Marry and Religious Freedom amendment,” James said.
“With more than 2.14 million self identified Democrats in Ohio, and last month’s electoral wins at our backs for marriage equality, the Democratic Part's endorsement demonstrates the growing support for marriage equality,” James said.
Progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org plans to run a series of ads aimed at elected officials who are in the pocket of the NRA and thus likely to oppose sensible gun reform measures.
It's starting in Ohio this weekend.
The lucky target is Senator Rob Portman who was the beneficiary of over a half million dollars during his 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate.
But MoveOn.org is spending its money where it thinks it might make a difference.
In the weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Portman was one of only a few Republicans in Congress who said they would consider every option -- including a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines - in order to help reduce gun violence.
With the NRA's dramatically reduced success in 2012 as far as electing the candidates they poured money into and defeating those they spent money to defeat, maybe Portman actually will balance the concerns of Ohio's quarter million MoveOn.org members (as well as other Ohioans in favor of sane gun regulations) against those of the NRA, which increasingly appear as extreme and unhinged as the group's president, Wayne LaPierre.
Anyone remember this?
A can-do, roll-the-dice mindset just might enable Ohio to regain its self-confidence and sell itself to the world. Kasich has it; nice guy Ted Strickland never will.
Kasich showed, as House Budget chair the last time Washington used black ink, that he could cross partisan lines and get results. He also showed in Congress that although he is personally conservative, he has no time for divisive hot-button tactics; Ohio doesn't, either. ... So we recommend John Richard Kasich for governor. With trepidation to be sure, but also with a belief that Ohio must take a risk to reap the rewards its citizens sorely need.
Yup, it's the legendary Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsement of Taxin' John Kasich, parts of which I can recite by heart (The rest I have at my fingertips on my computer).
Is the Plain Dealer now learning that when trepidation whispers in its ear, it should take heed?
Apparently, dancing did not break out in the aisles recently when Taxin' John told the Ohio Newspaper Convention this:
"You know we already tax a bunch of services already. You know why the legislature taxed them? To fill a budget hole. All of these services are going to get taxed. It's just a matter of whether they're going to be taxed by somebody pushing for a tax increase in Ohio or somebody who's trying to figure out how to lower the taxes that lead the most to our economic growth."
Translation: we better start taxing things ordinary people pay quickly before someone figures out that wealthier Ohioans and huge corporations ought to pay more.
Sales of advertising in print, on billboards, and on radio and television would now be taxed while national broadcast ads would remain exempt. The plan would tax magazine subscriptions but not newspapers, and the base would now include advertising agency fees.
"New poll shows Ohioans not as keen on Kasich agenda as Kasich."
Thanks, Columbus Examiner!
Read the rest here: http://www.examiner.com/article/new-poll-shows-ohioans-not-as-keen-on-ka...
I'm betting 100% of Ohio Daily Blog readers are considerably less keen on Kasich's agenda than Kasich is. The cheese may be standing alone in this case.
Well, this is interesting:
"Mandel asks legislators to oppose Kasich-backed Medicaid expansion."
About the only humane and ration thing Governor Taxin' John Kasich has done recently is to agree to the Medicaid expansion. Of course, the far-right Tea Party types are in an uproar about this, and it appears that Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel is making a big bid to become their special butt bo... I mean darling.
Once again, Mandel's outsized ambition — strapped as always to undersized accomplishment and limited grasp of issues — appears to be driving him.
Mandel's complaint is based more on far-right ideology and vague fears than on an actual understanding of how the expansion works or what its financial fallout might be. It's driven by the radical right's rigid opposition to spending money on anything and its exaggerated deficit fears.
Politically, Kasich’s proposed expansion has been applauded by Democrats, most hospitals and health-care groups, and many within the business community. It has been ridiculed by pundit-level conservatives, while most of the Republicans in the GOP-controlled House and Senate have been fairly quiet.
It appears then that most Ohio Republicans don't want to get into this war — for good reason. Most probably understand that this expansion is fundamentally a positive thing for Ohio, and that it will help make Ohio's budget as well as its citizens healthy. But everything having to do with Obamacare has been distorted and lied about on the right as a personal attack on the President, to help fill ignorant hate-filled teabaggers with still more rage.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a story out today headlined "ALEC Tax and Budget Proposals Would Slash Public Services and Jeopardize Economic Growth."
I think you'll probably recognize a lot of this:
The specific policies include deep cuts in income taxes, particularly for affluent households and corporations; a repeal of state income and estate taxes; a shift in state revenues from graduated-rate income taxes to sales taxes that are much higher than most states have today; the end of various state-based tax credits for low-income working families; a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that would impose rigid constitutional limits on state revenues and spending; requirements that state legislatures garner two-thirds or other “super-majority” votes to raise any taxes or fees; and other mechanisms that would reduce the funds available to finance key public services.
OK, so they haven't proposed the super-majority thing yet, and TABOR, an appallingly dangerous and destructive idea, has not risen from the dead yet after Ken Blackwell's doomed float of the idea back in 2005. But the rest of it has a familiar ring. After all, Taxin' John Kasich is an obedient little ALEC mouthpiece, more about "philosophy" he's told us than practical details and problem solving.
Never mind if the "philosophy" leads to this, as described by the CBPP report:
These policies would cut taxes deeply for wealthy individuals, investors, and corporations; shift tax burdens substantially from well-to-do to middle- and low-income households; and impose strict constitutional or legal limits on revenues or spending that would severely limit states’ ability to provide adequate funds for education, health care, and other priorities, and impair state economic growth.
That's what the great philosopher Taxin' John has in mind for Ohio.
Taxin’ John Kasich’s new budget proposal — especially his plan to slap a sales tax on virtually everything that happens in Ohio — has garnered widespread blowback. And among activist Democrats, it’s done nothing but stir up their energy and resolve to eject this incompetent blowhard from office next year.
Thursday night, Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern came up to Cleveland to talk to Cuyahoga Democrats and share the party’s plans going forward.
The overflow crowd at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center in Shaker Heights, which included House minority leader Armond Budish, state senator Nina Turner, and many local municipal elected officials, indicated how determined Democrats are to see change in Columbus next year.
The mood was decided different from a similar meeting in the same room two years ago — and not just because the previous November’s results were decidedly different. At that meeting, ODP officials Doug Kelly and Lauren Groh-Vargo did a presentation that was greeted coolly. It focused on numbers — how many calls were made, how many doors were knocked on. The gist of it was “Look at all the wonderful work we did!” Given the loss of every state office the previous November, this tack irritated and angered many.
As I've had more time to reflect on the trainwreck that is the proposed Kasich budget, it's becoming clear how many ways it's horrific for the Greater Cleveland area.
I tried to stay out of the whole Cleveland school levy debacle last year because I had so many friends who were so ardently supporting it and I felt like the entire thing was a scam. I figured I'd just keep my mouth shut because I'm not a Cleveland taxpayer.
The business community and foundations came up with the so-called "Cleveland Plan" which was a combination of a wish list of wonderful things and some stuff intended to beat up on the teachers union. The Cleveland Plan was intended as a sales tool for a massive 15-mil levy, which fell heaviest on the type of poorer Clevelanders who inherited an old house from their grandparents. Much of the city's new "luxury" housing is tax-abated, as are the big, fancy downtown projects from stadiums to the new Medical Mart. The plan, like too much in Cleveland, was crafted behind closed doors with no input from teachers, principals, parents, students, or the community members expected to pay for it.
Mayor Frank Jackson touted the endorsement of Governor Taxin' John Kasich as proof that the plan was all wonderful and bipartisan-y and blah blah blah.
What he didn't say was that the money raised by the levy would mostly go to fill the hole created by the cuts to the schools in Kasich's last budget. All that wonderful new stuff? Pfffft. It's unlikely to happen because .... the school funding formula in Kasich's new budget, supposedly intended to provide more for poor school districts like Cleveland's, give it one penny more.
Read all about that here:
** Scary "Job Killers" **
The Ohio Republican Party appears to be in a state of panic and confusion. Its chairman, Bob "The Thug" Bennett, held a press conference the other day in which he was unable to defend Taxin' John Kasich's new budget plan and accused assorted Ohio Democrats of being "job killers" largely because they didn't support Taxin' John's dubious JobsOhio scheme, which hasn't actually created any jobs.
The Ohio GOP is touting this "job killer" theme, based purely on the speculation that Taxin' John's little scheme MIGHT have created more jobs than the Department of Development it attempts to partially privatize if only it weren't being litigated as possibly unconstitutional.
On the ORP website (linked above), they wail,
House and Senate Democrats even sued the state (Twice!) to prevent JobsOhio from being implemented, possibly costing the state millions of dollars in lost revenue and preventing job creation.
The lawsuits also "possibly" saved millions of dollars of tax money from being funneled into private pockets, preferably those of rich Republican donors. That's probably what Bennett is really upset about.
There's a story today in the Columbus Dispatch about one aspect of the new Kasich budget that's starting to shape up as a disaster — school funding. (Oh yes, there are plenty of other disasters in the making, never fear!)
"Kasich's Funding Plan Draws Complaints From School Leaders."
The story details how school districts feel they were bamboozled into believing the new plan would benefit them when it doesn't.
Yes, the story actually is in the Dispatch! That's how unfavorable the reaction to Kasich's plan is.
The reviews are in:
A week ago, Bob Caldwell was among more than a dozen school superintendents praising Gov. John Kasich’s education plan. ... But now, Caldwell and many other superintendents say they feel duped by Kasich. “We got told all the right things, but he didn’t follow through,” Caldwell said. “This is not what we were told.”
Roger Mace, superintendent of Gallipolis City Schools in southeastern Ohio, said, “Everyone in the room when he (Kasich) announced his budget was misled.”
And the head of the district where the DeRolph case, which declared the current school funding formula unconstitutional FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, isn't happy either.
“I was hesitantly optimistic when he rolled out the plan. But instead of closing the gap between poor and wealthy districts, it appears to be exacerbated,” said Tom Perkins, superintendent of Northern Local Schools in Perry County.
Kasich's response? He doesn't know the details of his own plan — and he doesn't care.
If You're in Cleveland Tonight, Come Hear ODP Chair Redfern Talk About Kicking Taxin' John Out of Office!Submitted by Anastasia Pantsios on Thu, 02/07/2013 - 2:21pm.
Tonight (Thursday February 7) at 7:00 p.m., a group of Cuyahoga County Democratic clubs and organizations are co-sponsoring at event at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center (3450 Lee Rd., Shaker Heights) with Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern.
The topic is "Organizing for Ohio: The Path to Victory in 2014." It's free, and anyone who has an interest in seeing Taxin' John Kasich, Secretary of Voter Suppression Jon Husted, teabaggin' Dave Yost, attorney general Mikey DeWhiny, and pretend treasurer Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel ousted from office should come and learn how to get involved.
The sponsoring groups include the Shaker Heights Democratic Club, Beachwood-Woodmere Ward Club, Bedford/Walton Hills Democratic Party, Cleveland Heights Dems, Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus, Euclid Democratic Club, Geauga Democratic Party, South Euclid-Lyndhurst Democratic Club, Stonewall Democrats, Ohioans for Democratic Values, and University Heights Democratic Club.
Except the wealthiest, of course. But if you make under $50,000 a year, you won't see any benefits — and the less you make, the more likely you are to be paying more.
Policy Matters Ohio has done some analysis which lays out the impact of Taxin' John's proposals on various income levels. Cutting the state income tax by 20% has a multiplier effect of disproportionately favoring the richer Ohioans.
But this study doesn't even take into account something else: the property tax increases due to levies that were made necessary because of Taxin' John's cuts to local governments and public school systems.
For instance, the Policy Matters Ohio study estimates that middle-income earners would get an average $144 a year break on their state income taxes. However, thanks to Kasich, my property taxes went up last year by nearly $250. If we pass another levy this year, which would mean two school levies during Kasich's first term in office, my property taxes could go up as much as $500. Thanks, Taxin' John!
This proposal includes a sale tax increase in a huge range of services and goods not currently taxed. Sales taxes are among the most regressive, taking the greatest percentage of income from those with the least income. Kasich is also talking about ameliorating this by mandating a three-year freeze on local sales tax increases — yet another hit to local governments likely to increase the number of property tax levies.
Progressive think tank Innovation Ohio asks "Who is being served by latest Kasich budget?"
I think we know the answer before reading their report.
If Gov. John Kasich’s latest two-year state budget proposal proves one thing, it is this: Most Ohioans don’t have a friend in Columbus.
Since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut caused a renewed — and sustained — call for sane gun ownership regulations, the right has gone stark raving mad. The right-wing mailing lists I'm on have virtually dropped every other topic to pump out breathless, baseless fears about widespread gun confiscation.
One of the avenues they're pursuing to fight tooth and nail against ANY further gun regulations is pushing the idea that it's anti-woman because, of course, women need guns to defend themselves against crazy armed men. Some cynical observers have speculated the real reason is that gun manufacturers and dealers — the real clientele of the NRA — have maxxed out sales to men and need a new market.
Unfortunately for them, women are even more pro-gun control than men. And former 14th district Ohio Republican congressman Steve LaTourette thinks the GOP is going in the wrong direction by pushing the idea that have no gun regulations benefits women.
“I think the Republican Party, at its peril, is seen as in the pocket of the NRA and not willing to engage in the conversation,” LaTourette said during a roundtable organized by the partnership in Washington. “We haven’t fixed our problem as a party with women. And women don’t quite understand why the Republican Party, in my opinion, is so resistant to doing what the Supreme Court said in the Heller decision … that yes, the Second Amendment is an individual right that needs to be protected just like the right to free speech and the right to have a jury trial but you can have reasonable regulations upon that right.”
Well, while names continue to circulate as possible challengers to John Kasich, I’d like to throw one out that hasn’t been mention yet: Jay Williams.
Jay Williams, as I’m sure many people know is the former mayor of Youngstown. He was as far as I’ve heard a very good mayor. He won his seat as mayor by beating five other candidates in a general election having never run for a political office before. Upon his election he became the first African-American mayor of Youngstown. In August 2011 President Obama tapped him to become his executive director for the auto industry recovery. I think it was mentioned once or twice during the 2012 election that the auto industry is very important to Ohio. Jay Williams, present position is deputy director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs for the White House.
Prior to his public service, Jay Williams, appears to have stellar private sector experience. He has a degree from Youngstown State University in finance. He worked for area banks after graduating, which included a stint at the Cleveland Federal Reserve. If, Jay Williams, were to run for governor he should be able to solidly debate the economy and debunk a lot of John Kasich’s “lower taxes to the “job creators” means they can donate more to my campaigns” gibberish.
With all that written I do realize that Jay Williams, may not be interested in running for governor. But what if the only reason he’s not interested is, because no one has really mentioned it to him? As we look to find the best candidate to unseat SB5 John Kasich, shouldn’t his name be at least considered?
Proving Your Faith to the Gods of Austerity
Guest Post by Brian Davis
I cannot, for the life of me, understand how anyone can in good conscience vote against disaster relief while thousands suffer in the United States. How did our own Senator Rob Portman vote against Sandy Disaster Relief? We live in a state that can face devastation from tornadoes, floods, and drought, and the destruction is often so severe that it would bankrupt the traditionally austere state government. We will be at the federal trough asking for help in the near future, and we will need our federal delegation to push for swift help without unnecessary red tape.
There is no mention on the Portman websites or on his prolific twitter feed why he voted against assistance to rebuild roads and bridges in New York and New Jersey. Every day, we read stories about businesses still trying to recover or dads looking for jobs while sleeping in a motel with their families. Waiting over three months to approve the assistance to the 346,000 home owners who lost their houses was an insult, but then having so many vote against the recovery bill shows how extreme the Republican party has become. There are retirees who wonder if they will ever be back in their houses and others who are just giving up while Congress was pinching pennies. It is immoral that politics got between extending a hand up to those struggling with homelessness and the loss of income when their business was swept away.