Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce terrible on tax issues (once again)

Endorses two tax hikes

and takes a dive on limited government

So often, we hear about how business interests are "conservative" and back a limited government agenda. In greater Cincinnati, nothing could be further from the truth.
This year, as just one example, the Chamber released its ballot issue endorsements, and once again they entirely favor a bigger government and higher tax agenda. Indeed, COAST cannot remember the last time the Chamber actually opposed a tax hike. Not once in recent memory.
This year, the Chamber has endorsed higher property taxes for the hospitalization levy, including millions annually to Children's Hospital that has a $2 billion endowment (that's with a "B"), and the Children's Services levy.
The Chamber then opposed Issues 47 and 48, which would, respectively, prevent the City from creating a brand new tax -- a trash tax -- and from building the $135 million streetcar that threatens to bankrupt the City.
COAST fully expects the Chamber to back the massive earnings tax increase that Mayor Mallory and Council members Qualls and Thomas are plotting for just after the November elections.
Remember, this is the same Chamber that endorsed the Super-Sized Jail Tax, the Light Rail Tax, using tax dollars to bring the Olympics to Cincinnati, the sales tax for the Stadiums and the abominable Bengals Lease, the new tax for the Convention Center Expansion, and the Drake Levy.
This is the same Chamber of Commerce that earlier this year, wrote to Governor Kasich and asked that he waste $52 million in state funds on the Streetcar project.
Some COASTers have quit the Chamber, others have never joined and still others stay on board to try to temper the Chamber's lunge in the direction of bigger government.

Join us for COAST Picnic

WenstrupOctober 2, 2011 at 4 PM

Once again, COAST's NorthCOAST Chapter, under the able leadership of Kim Grant, Roseann Siderits and Del Landis, is the host of our fifth annual COAST Picnic.

The details are below. RSVP to Kim Grant if you can join us, kgrant5ATcinciDOTrrDOTcom .

Last year's picnic included COASTer Steve Johnson who revealed the facts underlying the Votes-for-Ice-Cream-Scandal that rocked the Cincinnati Public Schools. One never knows what this year's Picnic has in store.

Our featured speaker this year is Second District Congressional Candidate Dr. Brad Wenstrup.

Date: Sunday October 2nd, 2011
Time: 4:00/ Dinner served at 5:00
Place: Blue Ash Recreation Center/Park
Oak Shelter
4343 Cooper Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45242

Featured Speaker: Dr. Brad Wenstrup

Cost: $5.00 per person for Chicken & Drinks. Please bring your favorite side dish to share.

R.S.V.P. to Kim by responding to kgrant5ATcinciDOTrrDOTcom

Looking forward to a fun and relaxing evening!

Hope to see you all there! Del, Kim & Roseann

Directions: From Cincinnati take I-71 North to Pfeiffer Rd. Turn left on Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer will become Glendale-Milford. Turn left on Reed Hartman Hwy. Turn left on Cooper Rd. Look for Blue Ash Recreation Center (Pool). Reserved pavilion will be in back of pool.

From Lebanon, Mason, West Chester: Take 71 South to Pfeiffer Rd and turn right. Proceed with above directions.

You can help on state issues 2 & 3

COAST adopts westside phone bank
COAST needs your help to move Ohio toward a strong and healthy economy. Please join us at our Greater Cincinnati Area-West phone bank at 3012 Glenmore Avenue and help us tell others why Issue 2 (upholding Senate Bill 5) and Issue 3 (the Health Care Freedom Amendment) are critical in moving Ohio forward and creating a brighter future for all of us. The phone bank is open now until the election.

Here are details about the Greater Cincinnati Area-West Phone bank:

Where: 3012 Glenmore Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45238 Third floor right off the elevator

When: phone bank hours are Monday-Saturday 9-9 and Sunday 12-4.

Questions: If you want to volunteer, but another time works better for you, or if you have questions or would prefer to make calls from home, please contact AFP-Ohio Field Coordinator Jason Gloyd at

Issue 2 (to uphold Senate Bill 5) will help bring more accountability to government, give taxpayers a greater voice in how their tax dollars are spent, help us reign in government spending, avoid job-killing tax hikes that Ohioans just can't afford, and make Ohio more competitive for attracting much-needed jobs into the state.

Issue 3 (the Health Care Freedom Amendment) is an amendment in response to the Federal Health Care Plan that mandates every Ohioan purchase health insurance.

Issues 2 and 3 will be won by Ohioans talking with those in their communities about the importance of these issues. Please help us spread the word! The calls are dialed for you and you only have to ask a couple of quick questions, very easy and painless. Any time you can spare between now and the election would greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Public workers make 43% more than private

COAST noticed this little ditty -- public workers are making 43% more than private workers. So much of that "grand bargain" of more job security and better retirement benefits in exchange for lower pay!

Red Light Camera bans on ballot in three cities

With COAST's help, Red Light Camera bans are on the ballot in three Ohio cities -- all in northeast Ohio this year. Voters in Ashtabula, South Euclid and East Cleveland will have a chance to ban these pernicious devices this year at the ballot box. COAST provided legal and logistical assistance for each drive. The folks in Hamilton are still plugging away on their petition drive.

Array of organizations changing political and legislative landscape in Ohio

It's not your imagination: the game is changing

COASTers felt mighty lonely during the George Voinovich and Bob Taft years in Governor's mansion. Year after year, the latest budget crisis was universally met with one solution: higher taxes and increased spending.

What a change it has been this year! What happened?

First, we have better elected officials. With John Kasich as Governor, Tom Niehaus leading the Senate and Bill Batchelder leading the House, a limited government agenda seems to rule the day.

Second, we have a public that was burned once by Voinovich, a second time by Bob Taft, and the horrible legislatures that served under each of them. They weren't going to tolerate yet another administration selling out the taxpayers.

Third, several state-wide organizations are educating voters, and holding legislators' and the Governor's feet to the fire. Here are just a few:
  • Ohio's Buckeye Institute is a think tank that has cranked out scholarly studies showing the negative effect of Ohio's anti-competitive taxes and regulations on residents and businesses. Recently they have rolled out their state-wide salary databases that graphically show the bloated public salaries throughout Ohio and empower local citizens to fight the excesses. The database has gotten 3.5 million hits since launched just 16 months ago.
  • The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law has pursued aggressive legal strategies of enforcing the state and federal constitutional limitations on government authority and formulating legislative proposals to implement a conservative agenda. The 1851 Center drafted the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment that will be on the ballot this fall. They especially focus on area of economic freedoms. COASTer Chris Finney sits on the Board of Directors of the 1851 Center.
  • Americans for Prosperity, Ohio Chapter. This national organization that has helped immeasurably on budget and regulatory measures, has a significant Ohio presence. It's executive director Rebecca Heimlichhas traveled the state to rally citizens on issue of local, state and national interest. AFP-Ohio helped secure the repeal of the Ohio Estate Tax, and assisted COAST in cutting off $52 million in state funding for the Cincinnati Streetcar project.
These organizations, along with COAST, the Tea Parties, Empower U and others are working hand-in-hand with our elected officials to force the kinds of changes Ohio desperately needs to become competitive for jobs and residents going forward.

Story needs to be told: How Ohio Estate Tax battle was won

Vision of three men, sweat of hundreds of volunteers and courage of 81 state legislators strike bad tax

COAST Newsletter reported in July on the elimination of the Ohio Estate Tax as part of its reporting on the passage of Governor Kasich's budget. But what we did not properly do was to tell the story on how a ragtag band of volunteers, without the backing of any major financier, managed to re-write the Ohio tax code to eliminate a bad tax.

The campaign started with the vision of a single small business owner from Dayton, Ohio: Ron Alban. For decades, Ohioans had discussed eliminating the estate tax, the worst in the nation and one that was driving businesses and residents from the state.

Soon, Ron first signed up limited government advocate Jack Boyle from Cleveland and then COAST Board member Dan Regenold. They conceived of a state-wide ballot issue known as an "initiated legislation," that first forces the Ohio legislature to address the proposal, and if they won't act, to place the issue before the voters. Gena Bell, a influential Tea Party leader, joined the Coalition and brought the Tea Party and Liberty groups on board and was also responsible for gathering support within the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ultimately, they enlisted 1700 volunteers, and collected 85,000+ signatures state wide.

In parallel, they brought together a coalition of grass root and traditional groups to support repeal. Grass root groups included COAST, tea parties, Americans for Prosperity, and the Ohio Christian Alliance. Support from traditional groups included the Farm Bureau, Funeral Directors, the Manufacturer's Assoc., Ohio Chamber and many more. National groups such as Americans for Tax Reform and the National Taxpayer's Union were enlisted in the cause.

When Republicans took over the Governor's office and both houses of the State legislature in November of 2010, instantly prospects of resolution short of a public vote improved. Governor Kasich had publicly endorsed the repeal during his election campaign.

Then, it got interesting.

The City of Shaker Heights in the Cleveland area, Loveland, Oakwood in the Dayton area, and a few other cities hired high-priced lobbyists at taxpayer expense to fight the volunteer, self-funded effort. Attorneys from COAST and the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law threatened these municipalities with a suit if they didn't repeal the funding using a "taxpayer letter" signed by local volunteer, 77-year old Sylvia DeFranco. Instead, of repealing the funding, the cities of Shaker Heights, Loveland and Oakwood sued their own taxpayer -- Ms. DeFranco.

Outraged by the litigation attack on the taxpayer, Americans for Prosperity sent an action alert to its members, and generated more than 60,000 messages to the Ohio legislature, condemning the tactics of the allied municipalities (using tax monies) and demanding the estate tax repeal. The coalition of groups from Ohio and Washington sent strong messages in support of repeal to Columbus.

Concurrently, a group of 19 House members urged Speaker Batchelder to assure the repeal was included in the final budget bill.

In the end, the repeal was included in the biennial budget bill, and Ohio's Estate Tax is history.

A big COAST salute goes to Alban, Regenold and Boyle. You have shown us the possibilities of citizen activism.

Hamilton County scores A+ Bond rating

Republican commissioners stabilize fiscal situation
Under the leadership of Republicans Chris Monzel and Greg Hartmann, Hamilton County has managed to score a A+ rating from Fitch. Congratulations to this team!

Commissioner Monzel moves to stop MSD funds from going to support the Streetcar

COAST allies in streetcar fight abound

In August, COAST asked the City for records showing the costs associated witht he streetcar for relocation of facilities of Cincinnati Water Works, Metropolitan Sewer District and Duke Energy. As a result, the Cincinnati Business Courier ran this story.
What the story revealed was that the City was pushing for MSD to shoulder a share of the costs associated with the Streetcar construction between $2 million and $3 million.

Please call Chris Monzel's office at 946-4410 to thank him for this important initiative and call Commissioners Hartmann (946-4405) and Portune (946-4401) asking that they support the Monzel resolution.

A vote on September 26th is expected.

Trash tax ban also on the ballot

Issue 47 gives voters a say in this important battle

For the past three years, the City Manager and Mayor have tried to balance their bloated budget on the backs of Cincinnati residents by charging a new tax collection fee -- forgetting that we pay earnings taxes already to pay for that service!

Once again, liberals on Council supported the proposal, and only a forceful lobbying effort by COAST and others stopped the new tax each year.

Again, Christopher Smitherman and the NAACP toiled over the spring and summer to stop the fee, collecting signatures on a Charter Amendment to ban the tax. COAST provided assistance and helped collect signatures.

The issue will appear on the Cincinnati ballot as Issue 47. Voters must vote "Yes" to stop the trash tax.

NAACP and Smitherman do it again!

Proud civil rights organization
leads in stopping Streetcar

As Mayor Mallory, and Council members Qualls, Quinlivan, Thomas and Young, foolishly are thrusting Cincinnati headlong into a $135 million streetcar project, the Cincinnati NAACP led by Christopher Smitherman has worked tirelessly to place a second charter amendment before the voters that will stop the project and its attendant operating deficit.

The issue will appear on the November ballot in Cincinnati as Issue 48. Voters must vote yes to stop the streetcar project.

Thanks go to all coalition partners that joined together to gather the signatures to empower the voters on this topic: NAACP, the SW Ohio Green Party, the Ohio Libertarian Party, COAST, the Baptist Ministers Conference, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Firefighters Union, the CODE labor union, Westwood Concern, C.A.S.S. and the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. However, make no mistake that the heavy lifting on the petition drive was led week in and week out by the volunteers of the NAACP.

Our thanks go out to them.

Now it is up to the Cincinnati voters to put a stop to this project -- a misdirection for the City -- once and for all. VOTE YES on Issue 48 for Fiscal Sanity.

CPS seeks massive tax hike during recession

Clueless, liberal and wasteful School Board pushes huge tax hike
Hoping to fly under the radar with a quiet campaign, Cincinnati Public Schools has placed on the ballot a strange levy and a huge one.

The 7.95 mill levy will cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $500 per year in increased taxes (you read that right!). That homeowner already pays more than $2,600 per year just for the public school portion of his tax bill. COAST is not sure of the term of this levy -- as of press time we are still checking.

The strange part of the levy is what the money goes towards. The levy is known as a "Permanent Improvement Levy," and will generate annually an additional $49.5 million for the district, exclusively for technology, software, textbooks and other improvements with a life of at least five years. That's right, nearly $50 million annually that does not go to either salaries or buildings!

Further, with property values declining in the coming triennial (starting next year), tax rates on the typical home will automatically skyrocket without a vote.

So, if this massive levy passes, Cincinnati homeowners, already reeling from the recession, declining home values, the foreclosure crisis, and rising tax rates, now also have to cope with a enormous additional property tax burden to support CPS' wasteful spending patterns.

Schmidt named one of Congress' "most corrupt"

Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW) names local Congressman as one of Washington's worst
This news item caught COAST's attention: The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has named local Congressman Jean Schmidt as one of the most corrupt members of the United States Congress. You can read the release here and the full 9-page report here.

CREW is the leading, non-partisan voice in D.C. on ethics in Congress, speaking out forcefully on the Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters ethics investigations, for example.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fundraiser to Stop the Streetcar

Please join us to put the brakes on the Trolley Boondoggle

Please join us in the campaign to STOP THE CINCINNATI STREETCAR. This issue no longer just impacts the City of Cincinnati. Mayor Mallory is in talks with the utility companies to convince them to pass on the cost of streetcar construction to rate-payers throughout the County. That means that all Hamilton County residents will be paying more for water, gas, electric, sewer, and phone service to pay for the Mallory/Qualls/Quinliven/Thomas/Young pet project.

You can help stop this egregious abuse of taxpayer funds. Please join us on Monday, October 3rd from 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm at Mecklenburg Gardens (302 East University Avenue) for a fundraiser, the proceeds of which will go to stop this horrendous waste. We're keeping the cost low, a mere $20, so that more people will be able to attend and get involved in putting the brakes on this boondoggle. Think of it as not only an investment in good government, but also a strong blow in the fight against increases in your utility bills.

Please  R.S.V.P. to Charlie Norman by email at
We hope to see you on the 3rd!!!