Sunday, July 13, 2014

Something we all should be able to agree upon: Setting priorities

A new Hamilton County jail.  A renovated Cincinnati Music Hall. A refurbished Cincinnati Museum Center.  Re-doing the century-old buildings at Cincinnati's Zoo. A streetcar to Clifton. Preschools for every child.  Better police and fire protection.  Fixing the long-neglected Cincinnati pension.  Lavish facilities at Ohio's Colleges and Universities. A new public arena for Cincinnati.  Improved technical and vocational educational facilities and programs at Cincinnati State.

They all sound nice, really nice, and who would not want all of these things?  Except, of course, for the teeny little problem of who is going to pay for the long list of long-neglected community needs and wants, and how much are they all going to cost.

Today's Enquirer editorial by Julie Zimmerman touches on a topic near and dear to COAST, which is that as a community we can do many things, and many new things, but we can't do everything.  We must, as a community, set priorities.  The Enquirer and Ms. Zimmerman recognize this reality, and we appreciate that start of this important community discussion.

We have a different idea about those priorities than Ms. Zimmerman and the Enquirer Editorial Board, and we suspect almost every citizen would place these things in a different order.  But that's a discussion for a different day.

We believe that the start of the discussion is whether Cincinnati-area families can afford a bigger and bigger share of their hard-earned monies going to fund governmental projects, versus paying for their own homes, their own food and transportation, their own kids' education and their own retirement.  One of the many things our community "dreamers" miss is the soaring home foreclosure rate -- in part as a result of the burden of ever-rising property taxes.  COAST insists that in setting community priorities the overall burden on Cincinnati-area families must be factored in.

While COAST's detractors dislike us asking the hard questions, the important debates we have forced in this community have allowed for uncomfortable, yet necessary, discussion of our community priorities for the spending of precious tax dollars -- and more importantly how large that burden should be overall.  And in doing so we have forced the inclusion of the one group that back-room dealers want to leave out of the discussion -- the taxpayers, the voters, the people of this fine community.  The "little people" who "pay the taxes" as uber-wealthy Leona Helmsley once quipped.

The reality is that the new economy and the internet have disrupted the historic priority-setting structures that directed decisions in this community for decades if not centuries.  The types of mature business-minded leaders who built this town -- with a concern for the common man threaded in there -- no longer exist.  Most decisions in our community are made by those on the public dole, or who benefit from the system that is in place -- contractors, bankers, lawyers, lobbyists, and other assorted hangers-on.  Many pursue their own self-interest with little-to-no regard given to setting overall priorities, or a limit on the burden to be foisted on the common man.

COAST's entrance nearly fifteen years ago into the leadership void in our community, its embrace of new coalitions (e.g., "WeDemandAVote.Com" and the coalition that defeated the parking plot) and use of emerging technology (i.e., our blog, e-mail system and use of Twitter and Facebook) to help set these priorities is a part of re-establishing a system of setting community priorities.

The re-entrance of the opinion leader in Cincinnati -- the Enquirer -- into this great community debate is refreshing, as provoking thought and leading discussion of the direction Cincinnati going forward.

We welcome them to the discussion once again.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Enquirer's Cindi Andrews Applauds COAST Attorneys

COAST attorneys Chris Finney and Curt Hartman were singled out for praise by Cincinnati Enquirer reporter/editorialist Cindi Andrews in her recent piece.

Andrew's applauds COAST's legal team for "forcing local governments to follow the law"

Read her entire piece here.

We appreciate Ms. Andrews perspective and look forward to giving our legal team more opportunities to force local governments to follow the law!

SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus Continues at U.S. District Court

 Read the most recent motions below:



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ohio Rising Sales Tax Survey

Participate in the survey here:

 Then contact the County Commissioners here:

President Chris Monzel:  (513) 946-4409 (ph)
Vice President Greg Hartmann:  (513) 946-4406 (ph)
Commissioner Todd Portune:  (513) 946-4401 (ph)

Monday, June 23, 2014

COAST gets second win at High Court


COAST's legal dream team, lead by Chris Finney and Curt Hartman tallied two wins at the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

In both cases, the Court was deciding whether COAST had standing to challenge Ohio's political speech suppressing Political False Statements law.

It was fairly assumed that with the result in SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus, our writ in COAST v. OEC would be Granted Vacated and Remanded (GVR), the Court's expedited process for reversing the lower court based on a new statute or case law. In this instance, our earlier case was that new case law. But certainly, no one expected the Court to move so quickly. Read our Petition for Writ of Certiorari here. Read the Court's entry here.

We fully expect the press and our detractors to trumpet that we are seeking the right to lie. In fact, what we are seeking is the right to unfettered political speech. 

No person, whatever their political views, should have to fear bureaucrats checking over every jot and tittle ready to pounce and declare unfavored political views as "false" and threatening criminal prosecution.

We are proud of our role in fighting this blatantly unconstitutional law.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Could it be possible, a second US Supreme Court win in June 2014?

We know it all seems implausible, impossible, inconceivable, but COAST could have a second win at the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday.

In addition to being a co-Plaintiff in the recent landmark Susan B. Anthony List decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas and decide 9-0 by the Supremes, COAST was subject to an outrageous prosecution under the Ohio Elections Commission's False Claims Statute in 2011.  Read a powerful New York Times piece on that, here.

COAST challenged that prosecution in addition to the case decided this past week by the Supreme Court.  That case is pending on petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court.  They meet this week to decide the case, and will announce that decision, we expect, Monday morning.

Stay tuned for a possible COAST June Supreme Court two-fer.

Monday, June 16, 2014

More SCOTUS victory coverage

Daily Beast
US News & World Report
Huff Po
The Federalist
Kaiser Health News
New York Times
NBC News
Christian Journal
Toledo Blade
WVXU (our friend Howard Wilkinson)

Media round up on COAST win at SCOTUS

Here are the stories so far:

Washington Post
Cleveland Plain Dealer
ABA Journal
National Journal
The Hill
ABC News
Fox News
Constitution Daily
Law 360

Here's the decision, Susan B. Anthony List and COAST v. Ohio Elections Commission

Big 'ole smile on our faces....

COAST prevails at the US Supreme Court

Today, COAST prevailed in its first case at the United States Supreme Court, Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. Justice Thomas authored the unanimous opinion. Read about it here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why they lost -- Eric Cantor to Jean Schmidt

The boneyard of GOP officeholders who lost in their primary elections the last two cycles and this one is getting quite crowded:

  • Indiana Senator Dick Lugar (defeated in 2012)
  • Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania (defeated in 2010)
  • Florida Governor Charlie Christ, who lost in a primary election for U.S. Senate (Defeated in 2010) 
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska (defeated in 2010 primary only to be resurrected in the general)
  • Ohio Congressman Jean Schmidt (gloriously defeated in 2012)
  • Ohio Representative Peter Stautberg (defeated in 2014)
  • Blue Ash Council member Rick Bryan (defeated in 2014 for State Representative)
  • (Who else are we missing?)
And this year, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran survived into a runoff, but is being forced to defend what everyone expected would be  safe seat for a very long time.

What is it that claimed all of them?  

It was not just that they tilted to the left of their constituents, but that each tried to run intellectually dishonest campaigns, pretending to their voters to be someone other than who they actually were.  This characteristic is worse than just "liberal," and worse then just "out of touch."  It is a sign of bad character.  

The voters sense it, they know it, and they don't like it.  They act upon it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

David Pepper Embraces Obamacare Boondoggle

We here at COAST are not at all surprised to see prolific tax-hiker David A. Pepper express support for another big government disaster, but the rest of the state might be.  Yesterday, perennial candidate for office Pepper took to the airwaves to express his support for the biggest government boondoggle of our time - Obamacare.  You can hear him in his own words HERE.

Millionaire trust funder Pepper has a long and storied history of supporting projects that achieve little other than expanding the size of government while wasting the little guy's tax dollars in the process.  Whether it was the Pepper super-sized Hamilton County sales tax increase, or any number of other embarrassing government disasters, Pepper has dutifully hopped on board the ship as it was going down.  It seems his only criteria for support is a promise of increased government spending coupled with underwhelming results.  Why should Obamacare be any different?

COAST applauds David for showing his true colors to the voters of Ohio, who disapprove of Obamacare in record numbers.  We are pleased that Pepper has completely abandoned any pretense of being a moderate, common sense Democrat and has thrown all of his chips in with the radical far left wing of his Party.  It takes guts to take ownership of such a public failure, which is why no other statewide Democratic candidate for office has made a similar statement.  Kudos David!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why did Rick Bryan do it?

We are not trying to relive the results in Ohio's 28th House District Primary Election in which conservative Jon Dever defeated hopeless moderate Rick Bryan.  And we are not trying to gloat over the hard-fought COAST victory in which every action of the opposition and every campaign issue could have been the margin of victory.

Rather, we are just trying to get inside Rick Bryan's mind and offer a cautionary note to aspiring GOP politicians.
State Rep. Wannabe Rick Bryan 
Thought he could score political points by 
poking a sick in the eye of COASTers everywhere
He was wrong

Three years ago as Blue Ash Council was pondering the re-do of their Airport deal in a manner that allowed, under FAA regulations, the proceeds from the purchase of the Airport from the City of Cincinnati to be used to fund the Cincinnati Streetcar.  They met, they considered the positives and negatives of such a transaction, and decided to go forward.

Understand that Blue Ash had already cut its deal and already closed and owned the land.  The only purpose of the "re-do" was to allow the City of Cincinnati to use the proceeds to the Streetcar project.  And the Streetcar was opposed 2-1 in the City and 4-1 in the suburbs.  It was and is a wildly unpopular project.

Blue Ash politicians obviously knew they would take political heat for the decision -- but decided to proceed anyway.  Perhaps they underestimated the firestorm.  Perhaps they calculated that the political cost endured was less than the benefit promised to them for doing the deal.  Perhaps their palms were getting greased in other unseen ways.

But ultimately Blue Ash decided to vote for the issue, and in the process decided to poke a stick in the eye of COASTers and other anti-taxers throughout the City.  And they seemed to do so with relish, calling COASTers names from the floor of Council during the debate, and writing an Enquirer editorial blasting Cincinnati's pre-eminent conservative organization.

(What was the point of all of that?)

So, we wanted to know if Mr. Bryan could do those things without consequence as he ran for State Representative.  Or perhaps he thought he could derive some benefit from "taking COAST to task" throughout the debate.

Well the results are in.  Bryan lost a close election -- one he should have handily won as an 18-year Blue Ash incumbent.  Moreover, the COAST ground game, and the Airport sale issues were front and center in the election, i.e., the issue more than tipped the scales in favor of COAST.  In other words, it was a bad bet, a miscalculation by Bryan to "go along" on the pro-streetcar vote.

And the question left for history is: Why did he do it?  Only Rick Bryan can answer that question.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

COAST has arrived! Watergate weasel John Dean takes off after COAST -- "big-league deeply-funded conservative Ohio PAC"

We have endured the slings and arrows of our opponents claiming that we are "toast," "irrelevant," "insignificant," and "impotent."

But today, we have finally arrived.  Today, we learned from a major national figure that we are both "big-league" and "deeply funded," whatever those terms mean.

Read it here.

Noted Watergate weasel John Dean has uttered COAST's name in this "legal analysis and commentary" on, a well-know web site on legal issues.  Even better, he calls us a "big-league deeply funded conservative Ohio-PAC."  Really?

Apparently, John Dean's reverence for the truth has not changed in the decades since Watergate. Perhaps we should file a claim of a false statement at the Ohio Elections Commission for Dean lying once again!

Well, we may be "big league."  Not so sure.

But we certainly are not "deeply funded," as our publicly-available campaign finance reports will explain.  We have raised precious little money over our 15 years in existence, and almost none in the past two years.

This United States Supreme Court gig is a pretty good thing.  It has increased the exposure of our "irrelevant" little organization well beyond anything we deserve.  Imagine, a world-renowned creep disparaging our good name.  Oh, the humanity!

You'll love this license plate of our friend Jack Chrisman from Warren County

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

U.S. Tax Reform Bill Proposes Increased Taxes, Weakens Investment

COAST exists to limit tax rates and spending at the federal, state and local levels. However, U.S. Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp’s (R-MI), recent tax reform proposal includes tax increases that may not appear ill-intentioned, but the long term impacts will affect business expansion and job creation.

Carried interest is the profit share received by general investment partners when capital assets are sold. Investment partnerships occur in the U.S. in the venture capital, real estate, private equity and other projects that require a large, upfront capital.

Currently, carried interest is taxed as capital gains, which is typically in the 20% range. The maximum tax rate on capital gains, like carried interest, actually recently increased in 2012 from 15% to 23.8%. Provisions in Rep. Camp’s tax reform bill would increase this rate on carried interest as high as 35% and no longer give it the same treatment as capital gains.

One troubling aspect of Chairman Camp’s proposal to increase tax on carried interest can be found in its’ similarities to President Obama’s latest budget.  President Obama wants carried interest tax rates to align with normal income to a max of 43%. Carried interest has long been taxed as capital gains to encourage investment. As the economy continues to recover, raising taxes on investment will perturb job growth numbers, development projects and overall economic health.

Rep. Camp’s bill unfortunately does not stop with carried interest. Provisions outline a plan to add a taxation layer on publically traded partnerships. These entities grow and start businesses and are currently taxed as corporations, meaning they already pay a corporate taxes and owners pay taxes at the individual level on corporate distributions. Another taxation level will force many publicly traded companies to make fewer investments, resulting in similar economic impacts as carried interest tax increases.

COAST stands firmly by its principles of limiting tax rates and decreasing government interference. Rep. Camp’s tax reform bill threatens these core conservative values. Raising taxes is not a solution for increasing government revenues. This approach will cost constituents and businesses jobs and economic stability. We cannot allow Congress to increase taxes, especially on investment. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chris Finney Recaps SBA List & COAST v. Driehaus Supreme Court Oral Argument

COAST Attorney Christopher Finney discussed the Supreme Court oral argument and the twisted saga of the Ohio Elections Commission, with Brian Thomas this morning.

Listen below.