Monday, June 7, 2010

Hartmann Directs Obamacare Dividend to Local Benefit

County Commissioner Greg Hartmann is proposing to redirect $22 million of indigent care levy funding to bail out the bankrupt stadium fund. He is the only commissioner so far who has presented a well thought out, workable plan for this, and the only one who has committed to fixing what's broken without doing further harm to peoples' budgets through tax increases. He should be applauded for his effort.

Hamilton County's indigent care levy is a leftover relic of a bygone era when we had to care for our own. Recently Congress passed Obamacare making it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, requiring every american to purchase health insurance, and providing coverage for those unable to afford it. Thus there are no more uninsured people to receive indigent care, and therefore no need for an indigent care levy. The feds will be handling it from here on out.

However the 1/2 cent sales tax passed to construct two new sports stadiums has been abused by previous commissioners to fund all sorts of things the voters never intended. In addition to the two stadium boondoggles, funds were redirected to the Ft Washington Way boondoggle, part of the Freedom Center boondoggle, portions of the Riverfront Transit Center boondoggle, and The Banks boondoggle.

Now the stadium fund is approaching insolvency and would have to be bailed out with dollars from the county general fund. Those dollars are already barely funding the statutory needs of the county such as courts, sheriffs, etc. Any bailout would necessarily result in a reduction of government services.

Commissioner Todd Portune proposes to fix the deficit strictly through new taxes, while commissioner David Pepper wants to erase the red ink by eliminating the property tax rollback (an old tax cut) which he previously promised was a "deeply illegitimate act" and therefore off the table.

Greg Hartmann's proposal to use the Obamacare dividend to makeup the shortfall in the stadium fund is a responsible and logical strategy to play the political cards we have been dealt. It should be implemented.

2010-06-08 Supplement: Read Hartmann's proposal to the Tax Levy Review committee here. Local 12 coverage of same here. Enquirer Politics Extra coverage here.


  1. While Hartmann's plan is slightly better than Pepper's and Portune's, I fail to see why we should applaud someone for raising property taxes to give even more of our money to the Bungles and Reds. We are already paying higher taxes every single year for them, and likely will be for the rest of our lives. Now we have to give them more?

    The County should declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy, which would rework the stadium debt and end the lease agreement that causes this deficit. That would allow us to solve the stadium problem without raising taxes. (COAST is supposed to be against higher taxes, last I checked.)

    That Hartmann's property tax hike also does away with the hospital subsidy doesn't make the tax hike any better. If the hospital subsidy is not necessary, then get rid of it. Cutting wasteful spending can be done independent of anything else. However you call it, this is a property tax hike that is directing even more of our money to the Bungles and Reds.

  2. The Reds and Bengals aren't the reason the fund is bankrupt. That funding has not increased since the original tax vote. Problem is the stadium tax has been used as a slush fund for all sorts of other boondoggles like The Banks and Transit Center.

    We're not wild about bailing out all that foolishness when it should never have been spent in the first place. But we have to deal with reality as it is, and unfortunately those bills have to be paid. Hartmann approach is the lesser of all the evils proposed.

  3. That's not even accurate. The large projected stadium fund deficits over the next 20+ years are because the fund is going to take in much less than the spending that the lease agreement requires - as high as $30 million/year.

    It is true that prior Commissions/Councils wasted tens of millions of dollars on outside spending projects like the Transit Center and Banks, which drew down the "savings" account. However, all that has done is pushed the stadium fund into the red more quickly.

    The core issue, that the Bedinghaus/Portune lease agreement requires far more spending than the Sales Tax will take in over the next generation, is unchanged by the prior wasteful spending.

    That leaves us with 2 workable options. 1) Implement Stadium Sales Tax #2, which is what everyone seems to be proposing. 2) Have the County threaten to or declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy to get us out of the Bedinghaus/Portune lease agreement that is causing this problem. Nobody is saying much about this no-tax option.

  4. Nothing to say about your big loss in court today boys? This one is going to cost you big bucks. Since Mark Miller can't even pay for his kid's school bill (and Xavier has garnished his bank accounts), how's he gonna pay this off?

  5. Mey Mark, a trip over to the Clerk's website shows that Xavier garnished $8421 from your 5/3rd account and over $830 account from your US Bank account. Perhaps you should have been paying attention to your finances instead of trying to play Paerry Mason with the county commissioners. You have been PWNED!!!

  6. Easy fix: Let's move Harang to the bullpen and let LeCure stay in the rotation or give Chapman a shot. Let Herera, Cordero, Rhodes and Masset all keep their roles as relievers, but use them less often. If the Reds stay in first place, the more people will come to the ballpark and the more money the ballpark can make.

    I blame Aaron Harang for our current county budget woes. He's just not as good as he used to be.

    Oh and hey, Paul Brown Stadium is hosting a monster truck rally this summer, so for once they're having more than just Bengals games at the first of the two county owned stadiums. Things are looking up.

    Harang seriously sucks though.

  7. Where will my wife go to get her morbid obesity related medical treatments if University doesn;t get this tax money???

  8. The discussion lasted for 3 posts, anyways.

  9. I'm very proud of my proposal. I've been trying to find ways to funnel more of your money to Mike Brown and Bob Bedinghaus. Now I've finally found a way. Nothing is more important than making sure our Bengals and Reds take Hamilton County taxpayers to the cleaners.

  10. Fact Checker said...
    Hey Greg Hartmann imposter. You may want to do a little double checking on your facts. Bengal Bob Bedinghaus wrote large checks to the campaign coffers of.... DAVID PEPPER.

    And of course, Hartman's plan to plug the stadium gap does not give one dollar more to the Bengals then they are already receiving, but hey, why bother to deal in facts when you can just make uninformed and false accusations.

    Oh, way to gloss over the fact that both Portune and Pepper have proposed plans to "funnel more money to Mike Brown and Bob Bedinghaus" that included TAX INCREASES on teh citizens of Hamilton COunty that you profess to care so much about.


  11. Where the hell is Fairfield County?June 9, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Hey Fris -
    Nothing to say today about the Supreme court of Ohio bitch slapping Hamilton County Commissioners Portune and Pepper? That's the Supreme Court, a much higher body than a senile visiting judge from Hayseed County. I look forward to your mea culpa when COAST wins on appeal.

  12. De-Elect the CommissionersJune 9, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    Portune's plan raises the Sales Tax to give more money to Bob Bedinghaus and the Bengals.

    Pepper's plan raises the Property Tax to give more money to Bob Bedinghaus and the Bengals.

    Hartmann's plan raises the Property Tax to give more money to Bob Bedinghaus and the Bengals.

    Lose. Lose. Lose. The taxpayers are screwed. Why aren't the Commissioners actively pursuing the options available to solve this problem WITHOUT raising taxes? ANSWER THAT!

  13. Don't count your chickens before they hatch TOASTer. The issues in Miller's suit are different than the ones in Deter's suit. And that 'senile' judge was appointed by the chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court specifically to hear the case dumbass.

  14. Those are 3 fantastic tax hikes! I'd be proud to support any one of them.

  15. Where the hell is Fairfield County?June 10, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    Fine Fris -

    Let's make it interesting. If Finney loses on appeal I will send $100 to the local charity/campaign of your choice (probably some tax hike campaign or the dumbass streetcar which miserably failed to raise the private funds they said they would).

    If Finney wins on appeal you send $100 to COAST.

    You don't have the balls. Keep counting your chickens.

  16. Hey, why don't we raise property taxes AND sales taxes to give our beloved Bengals, beloved Berding, and beloved Bob Bedinghaus all of our hard-earned money we can. You Commissioners rock!

  17. One week later, Hartmann's plan still stinks. Almost as bad as Pepper's tax hike and Portune's tax hike.


We follow the "living room" rule. Exhibit the same courtesy you would show guests in your home.