Tuesday, December 30, 2008

COAST Membership Meetings

Support COAST and bring a friend.

COAST will be hosting three membership meetings to recruit new members and set out the COAST agenda for 2009. We want to hear from you!

The east side event will be held on
Monday, January 19, 2009
Molly Malone's Irish Pub
6111 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45213

The west side event will be held on
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
6:30 pm
Babe's Café
3389 Glenmore Ave., Cheviot, OH 45211

The North COAST event will be held on
Tuesday Monday, February 2, 2009
6:30 pm
Village Heritage Green Clubhouse
9475 Old Village Dr., Loveland, OH 45140

Join us for one, or for all of the meetings. Please invite anyone you think may be interested. For more information, call Jason Gloyd at (513) 240-4996.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Liberal Democrat Commissioners: 100 Sheriffs deputies laid off

Not a single personal assistant cut

Liberal democrat Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper today finalized the 2009 Hamilton County Budget. While claiming "public safety" is their top priority, the Commissioners refused to cut a single position from their nine-member personal staff, but eliminated funding for approximately 100 positions in the Sheriff's Department and closed the Queensgate Correctional facility, which provided 800+ inmate beds.

Commissioner DeWine today proposed spending cuts exceeding $1.4 million, which would have paid for the equivalent of 63,000 bed-nights for inmates. Read the DeWine resolution here. The Commission majority did not support the motion, and it failed for a lack of a second.

The Commissioners also refused to convert $2 million in new monies targeted towards "convention center promotion" or an accumulated $3 million in drug forfeiture funds for public safety purposes.

Fortunately, the 2009 budget shortfall did force the Commissioners finally to adopt more than $8.9 million in budget cuts proposed by Commissioner Pat DeWine for more than two years.

Read more about the wasteful County budget here.

COAST Lawyer on Local Radio

Real Estate Reappraisal Too High? and Be Financially Smart

Addressing the Issue
2008 was reappraisal year for real estate, and many people received unpleasant surprises when they opened their Auditor's notice. Despite the recession, many home values were increased significantly.

Luckily, there often is recourse and the auditor's office does sometimes make mistakes. Chris Finney, Partner with Finney, Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson Co., LPA, concentrates in real estate and commercial law. He will talk about what you can do if you feel your real estate is overvalued, and provide insight into how home value is determined.

Tune-in to discuss real estate
WNKU 89.7 FM - from the Greater Cincinnati Area, or
WNKU 94.5 FM - from the Fairfield/West Chester Area
December 23, 2008 from 5:20 to 5:30 PM.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

COAST Hosts Two Membership Meetings

East-side January 19

West-side January 20

COAST is hosting two membership meetings to recruit new members and set out the COAST agenda for 2009.
  • The east side event will be held on Monday, January 19, 2009 at 6:30 PM at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, 6111 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati (531-0700).

  • The west side event will be held on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 6:30 PM at Babe’s Café, 3389 Glenmore Ave., Cheviot (661-0831).
Please join us for one or both events.

Property Tax Reduction Seminars Offered

Techniques offered for real savings on your property tax bill

A series of free seminars are being offered by COAST attorneys to teach residential and commercial property owners how to successfully challenge their property tax assessments and reduce their tax bills.

The schedule is:

  • Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
    at the offices of the Home Builders Association
    415 Glensprings Drive in Fairfield
  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
    at the offices of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors
    14 Knollcrest Drive in Reading

RSVP to Gretchen Stephenson (513) 533-2730 or gws@fssp-law.com.

2008 is the year in which County Auditors in Hamilton and Butler Counties completely re-assessed all real properties in their jurisdiction. Despite the broad loss in property values, County Auditors in both counties increased overall assessments.

If your property value has been assessed too high you can challenge their assessments before the County Boards of Revision. These courses provide hands-on instruction as to how to complete the complaint for, challenge your values and win a reduction before the Board of Revision.

Please bring along your actual 2008 tax bill and a calculator and instructors will show you how to complete the form.

COAST Helps Dump Trash Tax

Facing protests, Council Flees From Bad Idea "Like Scalded Dogs"

On the same day that COAST rallied to stop the City’s drive to implement a $200 per household per year tax on trash collection, Mayor Mallory announced his formal budget proposal to the Council and eliminated the hated tax.

Once again, by shining the light and applying some heat on the politicians, COAST has succeeded in defeating bad policy,” said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. “The voters understand, even if bureaucrats to do, that Cincinnnati, Hamilton County and the State of Ohio are already high-tax areas.

Citing “hundreds” of e-mails and phone calls received by his office on the topic, Mayor Mallory abandoned the City’s mis-guided claim to money of City residents for a service that has been part of general fund expenditures for as long as anyone can remember.

COAST Challenges County’s Wasteful Spending

Pepper & Portune Opt to Continue Spending Binge

At a public hearing on the County budget on December 3, COAST highlighted continued wasteful spending policies by County Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper.

Facing layoffs of Sheriff’s deputies and a loss of jail spaces that will result in "people dying,” according to one safety official, Hamilton County’s tax-and-spend County Commissioners have pursued a 2009-2010 biennial budget that includes:

· Two decades ago, when the County had more than a million residents, the three County Commissioners shared a single staff member. Today, they have more than 9 full time staff members. These employees are in addition to the bloated staff of the County Administrator’s office. The Commissioners not only have failed to cut a single dollar from this budget “priority," but have increased this line item by 2%.

· Commencing in 2007, the Commissioners started spending more than $2 million in County dollars annually on convention center promotion in Cincinnati and Sharonville. Prior to the democrat takeover of the County Commission there were no County monies spent on this non-priority item.

· The Commissioners have failed to properly apply more than $3 million in Sheriff’s Drug Forfeiture funds for law enforcement purposes. Current the Sheriff hoards the funds and uses them (we are not kidding) on coloring books, teddy bears, and the Sheriff’s bagpipe band.

· The grossly bloated office of the County Administrator has no real cuts, only eliminating positions for retiring employees.

In the midst of the greatest budget crisis of a generation,” according to COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd, “the commissioners continue to waste money on non-priority items.

Instead of addressing these critical budget savings, the County intends to lay off more than 250 Sheriff’s deputies, close Queensgate Correctional facility, releasing more than 450 inmates.

Big-Spending Stevens Convicted, Loses Seat

COAST Celebrates His Loss !

Thanks to both a Washington jury and Alaska’s voters, the GOP has finally rid itself of one of the internal tumors that have condemned it to tax-and-spend policies in Congress. Unfortunately, it has dozens more that need to be excised. Alaska’s Senator Ted Stevens who for decades led the drive in Washington toward wasteful tax and spending policies, has been convicted of seven felony charges in October and then lost his Senate seat in November, finally freeing America from his four-decade grip on power. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Freedom Center Attendance Falls Further

Pepper’s bottomless pit continues to waste tax dollars

Paid attendance at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) fell in 2007 to approximately 61,260 persons compared to 69,000 in 2006, according to its IRS 990 income tax returns. The decline is yet more evidence that the monies invested in the NURFC by City, State and Federal governments is utterly cash dumped down a bottomless pit. Former Proctor and Gamble Chairman John Pepper has spread tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to politicians to leverage the tax subsidies to his pet project.

When, oh when, will our politicians learn,” asked COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd, “that the Freedom Center is a complete waste of tax dollars? It is comical that City, County, State and Federal governments complain about the shortage of tax dollars, and then profligately waste enormous amounts of money on the Freedom Center.

The NURFC filed its required tax return for non-profit corporations for calendar year 2007 at the end of October 2008. The return shows that in 2006, ticket sales generated $827,084. In 2007, that number dropped 11% to $735,125. The $12 ticket price yields the paid attendance numbers noted above. The NURFC, which offers a variety of free admission opportunities to pump up its attendance numbers, had projected 1,000,000 visitors from throughout the world per year when it solicited $55 million in taxpayer subsidy to construct the facility.

The NURFC announced in 2004 that it would seek $3 million in tax subsidies for its operations per annum to sustain itself, after it failed to meet its income and attendance projections. Since that time, the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and the State of Ohio have pumped more than $7 million into its operations.

Since that time, John Pepper and other NURFC board members have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to state legislators, Cincinnati City council members and Hamilton County Commissioners to assure the continued flow of tax dollars into NURFCs coffers.

In 2007 the NURFC reported that it had operating expenses of $7.4 million. That means the actual cost of operating the facility for every person who came through the turnstiles is a shocking $121! See the tax return here and run the numbers for yourself; it's astonishing!

COAST lawyer wins case at U.S. Supreme Court

David Langdon defeats state lawyers in preserving ballot access

The United States Supreme Court announced in November that it will not hear the State of Ohio’s appeal of the decision striking down Ohio’s ban on paying petition circulators by the signature. One of COAST’s team of attorneys, David Langdon, represented the successful Plaintiffs in that case.

The order is available here.

David Langdon, attorney for Citizens for Tax Reform, welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision refusing to hear the case. “The Supreme Court rightly refused to hear the State of Ohio’s appeal of the Sixth Circuit’s well-reasoned decision affirming that the First Amendment political speech rights of petition proponents trump the State’s ability to enact measures targeting alleged petition fraud. Hopefully, other states will take note of the decision and refuse to enact similar laws that make ballot access more difficult.

Several commentators and election law specialists had predicted that the Court would take the case. See here.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the case ends the four-year litigation over the constitutionality of R.C. 3599.111, which mandates that circulators of candidate petitions and initiative and referendum petitions be paid on the basis of time worked, and forbids payment based on the number of signatures collected. The law was temporarily struck down by United States District Court judge Sandra Beckwith only days after it took effect in April of 2005. It has not been in effect since that time.

In March of last year the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision declaring that the law violated the First Amendment political speech rights of petition proponents like Citizens for Tax Reform. (That decision is available here)

The Ohio Attorney General’s office asked the Supreme Court to hear the Ohio case to resolve an alleged conflict between the Sixth Circuit’s decision and the decisions of the Second, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits. Each of those courts has upheld similar pay-per-signature bans in New York, North Dakota, and Oregon, respectively.

Langdon is currently co-counsel in a lawsuit on behalf of Citizens in Charge and other I&R proponents against Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, captioned Citizens in Charge, et al. v. Brunner, S.D. Ohio Case No. 2:08-cv-01014. The lawsuit challenges several other restrictions on the right of initiative and referendum (I&R) in Ohio, including the requirement that statewide I&R petitions contain a “summary” approved by the Attorney General, and the requirement to submit a certain percentage of signatures from half of the counties in Ohio, which violates the constitutional principle of “one-man, one-vote.” The Secretary has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

Amelia Residents Fight Back

Sufficient Signatures Collected to Dissolve Village

Responding to Council’s threats to implement a City earnings tax to subsidize their over-spending, residents of the Village of Amelia have collected enough signatures to place a ballot issue before the voters to dissolve the Village.

Amelia resident Pam Barker headed a citizens committee appointed by the Mayor to identify solutions to the Village’s budget problems. Instead of rubber stamping a request for a tax increase, the Committee recommended (gasp!) spending cuts.

The Council rejected the recommended cuts and instead took steps to implement a first-time-ever earnings tax.

In response, a citizens group headed by Barker has collected signatures from more than half of the electors in the community and will submit them later this month. COAST attorneys Curt Hartman and Chris Finney are assisting the effort.

2009-01-31 UPDATE: Enquirer Reports that more enough signatures were certified by the Board of Elections to place the measure on the ballot.

COAST Speaks on Auto Industry Bailout

In December, America’s three major automakers asked Congress a second time for a bailout, this time totaling a whopping $34 billion. COAST vigorously opposes this request. Here’s why:

· In essence, the big three automakers have for decades “made their own bed,” choosing not to serve customers or shareholders, but demands of over-paid and lazy executives, big unions and government.

· In failing to serve consumers, the automakers have for decades put out over-priced, poor quality cars that failed to meet consumer demand. The recent mistakes included continuing to make large SUVs and not move quickly to high-demand hybrid technology, as gas prices rose and Japanese competitors quickly fulfilled the new consumer demand.

· In failing to serve shareholders, the adjusted stock price of General Motors today is identical to what it was in 1969. That is, if you invested $100 in General Motors stock nearly 40 years ago, you would not have had one dollar of appreciation in value of that investment.

· Ultimately, the companies are losing money, and shareholder value is not increasing, because their expenses exceed their revenues. American automakers expenses are so high compared to competitors because since the 1970s they consistently have capitulated to union demands on wages, benefits and job rules. Foreign manufacturers – even those with substantial U.S. operations – have been more successful in driving down costs. Here are just a few facts and figures explaining their uncompetitive cost structure:

a) GM's health-care costs tack on $1,500 per vehicle.

b) GM has instituted a union “job bank,” which continues to pay workers whose jobs fell victim to technological progress or plant restructurings even though they aren’t actually working. The job bank, established in the mid-1980s, requires GM to pay displaced workers nearly their entire salary plus benefits and pension.

c) For every GM worker, there are about 10 dependants deriving benefits from General Motors, which are defined as retired workers and their families.

d) GM's per-hour labor rate for car assembly is about $75 per hour, compared to $40 to $45 for other car companies.

So what is really happening is that at the very moment the abysmal failure of decades of poor management is brought into full bloom, the Democrat Congress intends to use your tax dollars to shield them from the natural forces of the marketplace.

The reasons why America’s automakers, and their shareholders, should suffer the consequences of their bad management are legion and compelling. COAST opposes the bailout. Read also Mitt Romney’s excellent New York Times editorial on this topic here.

Ohio Senator George Voinovich has been one of the champions of the bailout.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

COAST Holiday Celebration

COAST celebrates the holidays and
a successful year of fighting oppressive government

Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 6:30 PM
The Rusty Bucket in Rookwood, Norwood

Please join fellow fighters for limited government and lower taxes for COAST’s 2008 Christmas Party at the Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern in Rookwood in Hyde Park/Norwood on Thursday, December 18 at 6:30 PM.

In addition to the birth of our risen savior, COAST has a lot to celebrate with the passage of a Charter Amendment banning Red Light Cameras in Cincinnati, the election of Super-Sized Jail Tax opponents Pat DeWine (Common Pleas Court Judge) and Rob Goering (Treasurer), and the defeat of certain (unnamed here) pro-tax Republicans and Democrats.

But mostly, we celebrate another year of battle engaged by COAST fighters across southwest Ohio, whether they won or lost.

There is no charge for this event, but buy your own food and beverages.

Call Jason Gloyd at 240-4996 with questions.

The Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern
Rookwood Pavilion
2692 Madison Rd. Suite K-3
Cincinnati, Ohio 45208
Phone: (513) 841-2739