Thursday, May 06, 2010

Post-primary thoughts

I've been a bit busy the last several days and haven't had time to do a post, so my apologies to those who sent me a message asking if things were okay. Yes, they are - just busy with clients who actually pay me. :)

So our primary is over and the political parties have their representatives for the general election.

Several things stand out in this election, so let's get right to them:

Lucas County Commissioner Race:

* George Sarantou's name recognition was clearly an advantage over his two competitors for the Republican nomination for Lucas County Commissioner. I did a dawn patrol (putting out candidate signs prior to the polls opening) and saw that he had most - if not all - the polling locations covered. Dan Steingraber had signs at the polls, but George had signs at all the entrances to the locations. There is something to be said for 'local' knowledge. I did not see any Andy Glenn signs, but that could have just been a timing issue. I guess endorsements from The Blade and Joe the Plumber didn't count for much among Republican voters.

* Carol Contrada's win on the Democrat side surprised quite a few people, considering how strongly The Blade pushed Ben Krompak. Carol is well-respected and has a good reputation, even among Republicans who disagree with her philosophy of government and some of her votes. Perhaps after witnessing Ben Konop's performance in office, Democrats decided to reject a similar type of individual and go with something a bit more 'proven'? I don't know - not being a Democrat - but I expect the race between Carol and George to be less 'exciting' than one between any Republican and Krompak. I also expect the race will focus more on issues than personality and I'm curious to see how Carol will use the 'not from Toledo' advantage against George who will use the 'not a Democrat' one.

(Yes - I know ... there are many who think George is a democrat, but that doesn't mean they'll pick Carol over him....)

State Issue 1:

I'm disappointed that this passed, but not surprised. The last thing Ohio needs is more debt. But with both political parties and just about 'every one who is anyone' saying it will create jobs - what did I expect?

Tom Blumer at BizzyBlog pointed out the serious problem with the numbers being touted:

QUICK UPDATE: One hears Mr. Harris brag about fuel cells. Here’s a related PR release from a year ago

Ohio Third Frontier has invested over $80 million in fuel cells through a variety of different programs, which has resulted in the creation or retention of 430 jobs with an average salary of $68,431. Overall, the Ohio Third Frontier has created, capitalized or attracted more than 600 companies, has created nearly 55,000 direct and indirect jobs and helped create $6.6 billion in economic impact in Ohio, a 9:1 return on investment.

Points relating to the bolded items:

* $80 mil for 430 jobs is $186,000 per job.
* This claim only works if you believe that 8,527 direct jobs magically create 46,473 more indirect jobs. C’mon. This is the same type of math abuse promoted by the Obama administration to claim mega-gazillion “created and saved” jobs in the bogus stimulus plan — and it’s only theoretically “valid” when unemployment is 7.5% or lower. In Ohio, it’s really 11.5%. This “created and saved” nonsense seems to have become so embarrassing that even Team Obama has been recently ramping back the hype.

I also couldn't stand the commercials and advertisements touting this as 'not government, but people.' Who are they kidding? It's obviously a government program if I'm voting on whether or not the state can borrow money to give to selected companies. Roland Hansen had quite a bit to say about this aspect, as well.

I even had a conversation with a friend who supported the issue because it has really 'helped' a group he belongs to. That's all well and good, but obviously you support a program that gives you money.

So many people succumb to the idea that government can create jobs. If they rightly reject that presumption, they still believe government can 'help' create jobs. But the right way to 'help' create jobs in Ohio is not to borrow money and distribute it to selected companies or specific industries. The right way is to have a business-friendly environment that makes it easy for ALL companies and industries to make money.

Thanks to Issue 1, my company - and my husband's, and my neighbor's - will be taxed (one way or the other) to repay the principle and interest on these bonds. However, because none of us are in a 'fad' field, we'll never see any of the monetary assistance that a select few will. That's NOT how you 'bring' jobs to the state.

But don't you feel good knowing you voted for "jobs"???

Issue 3 Toledo Public School Income Tax:

A bright spot on election day - the voters actually saying NO to a tax increase! Of course, TPS officials are threatening to cut things that matter most to parents (like transportation and athletics) but not even mentioning across-the-board spending cuts or cuts in salaries/wages/benefits.

I heard a news clip of Board President Bob Vasquez saying they just have to have 'new money.' Where in the world does he think the taxpayers are going to get the 'new money' to give to him? Obviously, voters 'get it.' But I expect this will be on the ballot again with a larger push for passage. And Toledoans have a habit of finally giving in when it comes to taxes (remember COSI that took three times on the ballot to get passed?).

Issue 5 Toledo re-allocation of the 3/4% Payroll Income Tax:

Like many others, I strongly objected to giving Toledo Council and the Administration the ability to divert money from the Capital Improvement Fund to the General Fund if they 'need' it. To me, this was short-sighted and only serves to allow them to continue spending money they really don't have.

Additionally, I despised the fact that I have to pay more in a Trash Tax to support unsustainable expenditures by the city.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that the concessions given up by the unions earlier this year are going to be 'returned' now that the measure has passed. So the unionized employees of the city won't be paying their full employee portion of their pensions and most will pay nothing at all, with us picking up both the city's portion and theirs!

But I'm paying a 750% increase per month in a trash tax so they can have this unsustainable (there's that word, again) perk.

I do believe, however, that many voters who said yes to this might be inclined to give Mayor Mike Bell the benefit of the doubt on this measure. He's said it's temporary and he's known to be a man of his word. Even though Toledoans have a serious problem with the definition of 'temporary' when it comes to taxes, they may have decided to give Bell this time to work on the overall city budget without having to scramble for millions at the last minute.

We shall see...

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