On January 31, 2012 the Ohio Inspector General opened an investigation into Rick Hodges, Kasich’s Turnpike Commission Director. The investigation stemmed from a complaint about nepotism and improper hiring practices surrounding the hiring of Hodges’ wife while he was Director of Legislative Development at the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.
According to the complaint, Susan Hodges was hired on October 25th, 2011 as a Work Processing Specialist 2 in an interim capacity to fill the spot of an employee applying for disability leave. A hearing was held at the request of the bargaining unit, and the hearing officer found that no rules [...]Full Story... →
Racism is colliding business macroeconomics in the Ohio GOP. It will be interesting to see which carries the day.
I wasn’t surprised to return from a wedding in Texas to news that State Rep Matt Lynch wants to charge DREAMers more to go to Ohio universities, “revers[ing] the recent decision by the Board of Regents to allow in-state tuition to illegal immigrants1 in Ohio.”
When your policy is so stupid that even Rick Perry realized it was dumb a decade ago, you may be too racist for your own good.
1. Why have public universities?
Ohio has public universities [...]Full Story... →
In 2010, former State Representative/GOP Cuyahoga County Chair Jim Trakas served as the co-chairman of Gov. John Kasich’s gubernatorial Cuyahoga County campaign. When Kasich was narrowly elected by only a plurality of the vote, he “has said he will not base hiriing [sic] on politics, but rather on qualifications.” But as the Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out at the time, Kasich’s decision to appoint Trakas to be the director of the State Board of Cosmetology showed how quickly Kasich would violate his pledge.
Trakas had no private sector or really any legislative experience with cosmetology (well, beyond the [...]Full Story... →
In 2006, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law imposing a cap on state spending. The state appropriation limitation (SAL) was set at 3.5% of General Revenue Fund (GRF) appropriations over the previous fiscal year. According to the LSC analysis of the bill, the law was supposed to prohibit “the Governor from proposing and the General Assembly from making aggregate GRF appropriations that exceed the state appropriation limitation for each fiscal year.”
Kasich’s two budgets have increased appropriations by nearly double the limit set by the SAL.
A report issued by conservative think tank Opportunity Ohio last week shows [...]Full Story... →
Kasich, GOP Schemes Victimize Northern, Eastern and Especially Northeast Ohio
Northern Ohio and eastern Ohio are being harmed by the hypocritical policies of Gov. Kasich and the Republican legislature, and northeast Ohio is being hit with a double-whammy.
First, let’s look at the Ohio Turnpike, the lifeblood transportation route through northern Ohio. Ohio taxpayers originally were promised that the superhighway eventually would become toll-free after the initial bonds were repaid by tolls. That was delayed when new bonds were issued to widen and modernize the turnpike.
Now the Republican majorities in the Ohio House and Senate voted [...]Full Story... →
John Kasich signed his transportation budget last week and, despite a lot of bluster and rhetoric, it does nothing to solve funding long-term funding problems with Ohio’s transportation infrastructure.
Instead, Kasich kicks the can down the road while burdening the Ohio Turnpike with $1.5 Billion is new debt to pay for short-term ODOT transportation projects and then raising turnpike tolls on truckers to pay off the debt over the long-term.
When the bond money runs out in a few years, ODOT’s funding problems will return and the turnpike will be stuck with billions in debt.
Team Kasich took to Twitter to [...]Full Story... →
Ohio legislators have proposed raising the speed limits on some of Ohio’s highways. It appears the change could impact revenue forecasts for the Ohio Turnpike and may also impact the sale of turnpike bonds proposed by the Governor.
A recent $3.4 Million dollar study of the Ohio Turnpike by the firm KPMG used a forecasting model to predict future revenue for the turnpike. One of the key components of the model was estimated diversion rates i.e. how many drivers would choose alternative, non-turnpike routes based on other model inputs like toll increases.
According to the study, one of the assumptions used [...]Full Story... →
The Ohio Senate today tweaked Governor Kasich’s turnpike proposal, requiring any funds generated by turnpike bonds to be spent in Northern Ohio while freezing toll rates in statute. The move could lead to a Kasich veto and could be a further sign of what appears to be an increasingly chilly relationship between the Governor and leaders of his own party.
The Senate Transportation Committee adopted amendments to House Bill 51 that would require 90 percent of the proceeds of borrowing against future turnpike tolls to be spent within 75 miles of the Ohio Turnpike. Another amendment locks in current toll [...]Full Story... →
Last year the State School Board hired Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based company that “specializes in educational executive leadership searches”, to help identify a new State Superintendent. According to the contract, the company will be paid a base fee of $32,000 plus additional costs for expenses up to $17,875 – or a total of almost $50,000.
The RFP issued by the Ohio Department of Education requires that the firm “conduct a thorough search for appropriate applicants” after they “develop and conduct a thoughtful, timely process for gathering State Board of Education, staff, and appropriate stakeholder input for establishment criteria for [...]Full Story... →
Back in September, 2011 the Kasich team was already developing talking points for their plan to “leverage” the Ohio Turnpike’s revenue stream into a one-time pot of money for Kasich to fund his pet transportation projects.
We recently obtained a copy of the internal talking points memo (posted in full below) that provides ODOT and Turnpike representatives with a standard answer to the question “Why are you looking at this option now?”
As you may know, Ohio is facing a budget and infrastructure crisis. With the current budget shortfalls and decreases in the amount of gas tax revenues, future investments for [...]Full Story... →
[A reader writes with a poem of sorts. We were inspired to apply a bit of Photoshop.]
I am John.
John-I-am, and I am the Governor of this land.
That John-I-am, that John-I-am! I do not like that John-I-am!
Would you like me to tax you here or there?
I would not like you to tax me here or there. I would not like that anywhere. I do not like your sales tax scam. I do not like them, John-I-am.
Would you like me to tax you when you groom your cat? Would you like me to [...]Full Story... →