Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mike Brown Property Tax increase

Hamilton County homeowners face four more years of higher property taxes to provide more money to the stadiums and the teams who inhabit them. That's the plan that has been submitted by Commission President Greg Hartmann and the County Administrator. The other two Commissioners, Chris Monzel and Todd Portune, have each submitted their own plans which include no property tax increases.

As part of the 1996 Stadium Sales Tax vote, homeowners were promised that 30% of those Sales Tax revenues would be refunded to them in the form of the Property Tax Rollback (PTR). Through 2009 this promise was kept. In December 2010, Commissioner Greg Hartmann and then-Commissioner David Pepper broke this promise, taking away most of that rollback for 2011.

Hartmann and the County Administrator are looking to strip 70-75% of this PTR through at least 2015. Both Monzel and Portune believe that the PTR promise should kept. All three plans currently lack a second vote, which provides a good opportunity for citizen involvement to affect the final outcome.

Everyone is encouraged to contact the Commissioners with their thoughts. Hartmann is looking to pass his plan Monday morning before the Commissioners have any opportunity to hear the public's thoughts. Please encourage all three Commissioners to: 1) support a plan which includes the full PTR; and 2) postpone Monday's planned vote to allow for public comment.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

School Board endorsements

COAST endorses:

Dan Unger for Northwest Local School Board

Colleen Greissinger for Sycamore School Board

Arnie Engel for Fairfield School Board

These candidates offer fiscally responsible solutions to education issues

COAST proudly supports Dan Unger for re-election to the Northwest Local School Board. Dan is a rock-ribbed conservative with a proven record of fighting for taxpayers. Dan has fought for more transparency both by working to get Board meetings televised & introducing legislation to make District expenditures public. He has opposed massive, unnecessary tax levies, and has argued for closer public oversight of large District expenditures. COAST strongly urges that Dan Unger be returned to the Northwest Local School Board to maintain a fiscal watchdog position on an otherwise free-spending Board. You can learn more about Dan by visiting his website and watching his campaign video.

Newcomer Colleen Greissinger of Blue Ash is seeking a seat on the Sycamore School Board. Colleen is a private sector professional who strongly advocates for transparency in the use of taxpayer dollars, and promises to maintain the quality of education in the Sycamore District without asking taxpayers for additional funding. COAST asks residents of the Sycamore School District to say no to their big-spending District by electing Colleen Greissinger. You can learn more about Colleen by visiting her website.

Former Fairfield School Board member Arnold Engel has been a long-time advocate of fiscal responsibility in Fairfield. He was so effective in spreading the word about the District's fiscal mismanagement that the unions and pro-tax slate of candidates got together to defeat him in his 2009 re-election quest. As is the usual, they resorted to dirty tricks, and even outright lawlessness, which has led to the forced resignation of one sitting Board member, along with a felony indictment. COAST strongly urges the residents of the Fairfield School District to send a message that dirty camaigning to achieve higher taxes will not be tolerated. Fairfield residents should send Arnold Engel back to the School Board. You can learn more about Arnie by visiting his website.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

$48 million wasted on Transit Center boondoggle

Channel 9 I-Team exposes one of the City's biggest boondoggles. "The Riverfront Transit Center opened in 2003. Eight years later, it sits empty and padlocked roughly 275 days every year."

Former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken calls the Riverfront Transit Center the biggest waste of money he's seen in his long political career.

"The only reason there's not more outrage about it, " Luken said, "is because people don't know it's there."

Mayor Luken helped open the transit center eight years ago. He inherited the station from previous administrations.

"It will be used by charter buses, public transit, school buses and shuttles for many years to come," Luken told the assembled dignitaries at the ribbon cutting.

His words would not ring true in the eight years after that day in 2003.

Now the former mayor wishes he never stood at the podium and sang praises for what is essentially an empty facility that cost taxpayers $48 million.

"We're eight years out, and nothing's happened, and for the foreseeable future, nothing's going to happen; so we are perfectly safe in saying that this was a waste of money," Luken said.