Sunday, October 18, 2015

Public-private partnerships take "toll" on public

Remember Mayor Mallory's Parking Plot?  And proposed tolls for the Brent Spence Bridge?  These are all new-fangled financing schemes where the cash flow emanating from the use of public improvements is vested in private entities, who then float bonds payable with those revenue streams in exchange for an up-front public benefit today.

In the case of tolls, they are used to build roadway, bridge and tunnel projects that the public entities cannot afford, and in the case of parking revenues, they are being used to front millions in current dollars for capital projects.

Today's Washington Post highlights these public-private partnerships running off the rails and costing taxpayers dearly.  

Stepping back, why is one of the wealthiest nations on earth unable to fund its infrastructure without selling its income streams to for-profit entities?  Simply, because it can't control its spending.  At the federal level, entitlement spending -- medicaid, medicaid, ObamaCare and social security -- is gobbling so much of the federal budget, the government can't afford comparatively small amounts for crucial public improvements.  At the state level, the inability to say "no" to public employee unions -- salaries and pensions -- has bankrupted local and state governments, again preventing relatively paltry sums from being available for capital projects.

So, the "public benefit" to public-private partnerships is largely illusory.  Proceed with extreme caution.

Friday, October 16, 2015

COAST Endorses Ken Crawford for Norwood Mayor!

COAST is proud to support Ken Crawford for Mayor of Norwood

Ken is a young conservative ready to empower the people of Norwood with his plan to restore accountability and transparency in local government.

You can learn more about Ken Crawford's platform here. Get involved in the campaign and make a contribution here.

Remember to Vote for Ken Crawford for Norwood Mayor on election day.

We are excited to see the possibilities that will emerge with new and dynamic leadership in Norwood!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vote "No" on Issue 22 Property Tax

The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) urges Cincinnati voters to reject the permanent property tax increase that will appear on the ballot as Issue 22.

With proposed projects such as restaurants, beer gardens, roads, and golf course expansions, this tax hike arguably does more to destroy nature than it does to enhance it.

COAST opposes a permanent, costly property tax increase as well as the poor accountability of the funds that would be raised. Under this Charter Amendment, spending decisions would be made by the Mayor and his appointments to the Parks Board, largely removing our elected City Council from the process.

We are concerned that this lack of accountability creates a backdoor path for the Mayor and his appointees to approve unpopular projects that Council would otherwise not approve.

“Cincinnati voters should reject a permanent property tax hike that hurts our parks,” says State Representative Tom Brinkman, a long-time Cincinnati resident and COAST co-founder. “Please Vote No on Issue 22.”

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's Official: Ohio Supreme Court is overtly hostile in Sunshine Law cases

So, it turns out we are not paranoid after all and it's not just our imagination.

A group devoted to transparency in government in Ohio, the Ohio Coalition for Open Government (OCOG) has issued a report that confirms the view that the Ohio Supreme Court most often sides with government officials in cases involving government access and transparency.

COAST has pursued with vigor litigation involving open meetings and public records to assure that the public's business is conducted in the fresh air and sunshine, before the public.  Unfortunately, in decision after decision, the Ohio Supreme Court has chipped away at what surely is a well-written state and local public records law.  They have, in short, made mincemeat of what is a well-written statute, issuing rulings clearly contrary to statutory language to achieve their desired policy outcome.  It is truly shameful. 

The OCOG report goes even further, to name names of the offending Justices.  The worst offender: Justice Terrance O'Donnell.  The best: Justice Judith French.  

Read the OCOG press release here. And the OCOG full report here