WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 03.19.2013
Posted In: News, Budget, Development at 08:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Kasich tax plan criticized, JobsOhio records due today, workers demand prevailing wage

The Ohio House is looking to rewrite parts of Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal after dissent has focused on the governor’s tax plan. The chamber’s leaders are looking to set aside the tax plan from the bill so they can better focus on other complicated parts of the budget, including the Medicaid expansion and school funding. Even without the governor’s controversial sales tax expansion plan, Kasich’s budget proposal contains enough leftover money to pass some income tax cuts, with about $280.4 million in general revenue available for fiscal year 2014 and $690.2 million available in fiscal year 2015, according to an analysis in the Bluebook. CityBeat covered Kasich’s budget proposal in further detail here. State Auditor Dave Yost says he expects to get the subpoenaed financial records from JobsOhio today by the noon deadline, even though the audit has come under criticism from Gov. Kasich and other state officials. Yost says he should be allowed to look into JobsOhio’s full financial records, which include private funds, but Kasich and other Republicans argue only public funds are open to audit. JobsOhio is a publicly funded nonprofit, privatized development agency that was set up by Kasich and Republican legislators to eventually replace the Ohio Department of Development, which is susceptible to a full audit. Workers for the $78 million U Square project near the University of Cincinnati allege they are being underpaid. In a lawsuit, union workers are claiming they should be paid prevailing wage established in state law because the project is using public funds and 50 percent owned by a public authority. With the support of City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr., Cincinnati is now looking to cash into its innovative water technology with the formation of the Global Water Technology Hub, which will use expert advice to identify market needs and sell the technology. The city promises the hub will also help keep water rates low for users and find new revenue sources. Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld will hold a press conference today to introduce his Restoring Our Communities Initiative, which will seek to fight blight and improve child safety in Cincinnati. The initiative will include a push for the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 16, which would make it so individuals are not liable for trespassing convictions if the person is remediating blight on abandoned personal property. In a statement, Sittenfeld explained the purpose of the initiative: “Blight is a complicated issue that impacts many aspects of life, and I think this plan helps attack the problem from several angles.” Cincinnati Council’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously approved $10,000 for the Westwood Square project, which will involve a larger facility for the Madcap Theater, green space and changes to the neighborhood’s entryways to better encourage community pride and economic development. A new $20 million, seven-story apartment tower with 110 high-end apartments is being planned for Downtown, above the Seventh and Broadway Garage. Two weeks in, Horseshoe Casino’s executive says the casino is doing well and turnout has been good. A report found auto insurance rates in Ohio are “a bargain,” with the state having the fourth lowest costs among other states and Washington, D.C. A machine keeps human livers alive outside a body for 24 hours, which could double the amount of livers available for transplant and save thousands of lives.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 11.14.2012
 
 
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U Square Worker Payment Investigation Continues

Committee members want to change way contracts are written to ensure fair wages

A City Council committee wants Cincinnati’s leadership to investigate whether workers in a Clifton Heights development project are being paid what they’re supposed to. The Strategic Growth Committee on Wednesday passed a motion asking the city administration to report back on wage payments to workers on the U Square development. The project includes a parking garage as well as residential and commercial units. Under Ohio law, workers on projects funded by cities must be paid a prevailing wage, which is equivalent to the wage earned by a union worker on a similar project. The city only has money invested in the garage, and the state  of Ohio recently ruled that workers on other parts don’t have to be paid prevailing wage. Council members Wendell Young, Cecil Thomas and Laure Quinlivan produced a video in which they interviewed carpenters who said they were being paid less than the prevailing wage. At issue is a letter from developer Towne Properties that says the company will pay all workers prevailing wage anyway. Arn Bortz with Towne Properties said his company cuts a check to subcontractors respecting that agreement, so if workers aren’t being paid the proper amount it’s their fault. City Solicitor John Curp told members of the Strategic Growth Committee that under city and state law, the subcontractors are not required to pay workers a prevailing wage on parts of the project that are not getting public funding. He said the letter from the developer does not hold the weight as a legal contract. Young, Thomas, Quinlivan and Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld all expressed the need to overhaul the way the city enters into development contracts to better protect workers. However, City Manager Milton Dohoney hinted that overzealous requirements for high wages could chase off some development projects. He said that a project like U Square is tied to the Clifton location because of its proximity to the University of Cincinnati, but the city can’t be too restrictive when it comes to businesses that could expand elsewhere. Dohoney said the city also doesn’t currently have the manpower to do the kind of aggressive enforcement that the council members were asking for. Councilman Young countered that he would like to see the city be as aggressive with enforcement as they are with making economic development deals. “We want to change the rules of the game to make sure everyone is treated equal,” Young said. 
 
 

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