by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: 2012 Election
, County Commission
, Financial Crisis
, Mitt Romney
at 03:53 PM | Permalink
"Austerity budget" rejects tax increases
The Republican head of Hamilton County’s governing board
outlined his own alternative for a 2013 budget on Monday, proposing an
austere path forward after rejecting other budgets that would raise some
Board of County Commissioners President Greg Hartmann said
his proposed budget would reduce the size of county government by 30
percent, compared to five years ago. He said he wants the board to
approve a budget before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“It is a budget of austerity and investment in growth,” Hartmann said.
He added, “It is a structurally-balanced budget,” that doesn’t use one-time sources of cash to make up for shortfalls.
Hartmann’s proposed budget would cut the Sheriff’s Department by about $57,000 or
0.01 percent from 2012 levels; reduce the coroner’s appropriation by 3
percent or $99,000; cut economic development by 5 percent; cut 5
percent from adult criminal courts; and reduce subsidies to the
Communications Center and Sheriff’s Department.
Hartmann stressed that it is important to fund public
safety as fully as allowable in these tough economic times, as economic
development is not possible without it.
Hartmann’s budget comes after commissioners rejected three proposals from County Administrator Christian Sigman.
Sigman proposed $18.7 million in cuts, which Hartmann’s budget maintained in addition to his own reductions.
Two of Sigman’s proposals involved increasing the sales tax to balance the budget.
Fellow Republican Commissioner Chris Monzel said he
supports Hartmann’s efforts at austerity, but is working on his own
budget proposal as well.
“An austerity budget is the way we’re going to go, and it’s going to be hard,” he said.
The board’s sole Democrat, Todd Portune, said he too is
working on his own proposal that he had hoped to have prepared for the
Nov. 5 meeting, but was still making tweaks and hoped to present it by
the following week.
He hinted that the results of Election Day might impact how he crafts his budget proposal.
“Tomorrow’s results may have an impact as well on the
budget that I present as it relates as well to those who are running for
county seats,” Portune said. “We have in some cases two very different
visions in terms of solutions.”
Both he and Hartmann are up for re-election. Portune is
running against Libertarian Bob Frey. Neither candidate has a major
Hartmann, who has actively campaigned for Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney, had a joke in response to Portune’s
waiting for the election results.
“I thought you were predicting Romney’s win would make the
economy go on the right track,” Hartmann cracked. “I was thinking
that’s what you were going to go with.”
by Kevin Osborne
Longtime City Hall staffer joins Heritage Action
A local conservative activist has found another job in politics.Brad Beckett recently was appointed as Heritage Action for America’s first regional coordinator for the Cincinnati area. Beckett served for years as chief of staff for City Councilman Chris Monzel, until Monzel left that group in January 2011 to become a Hamilton County commissioner.In his new role, Beckett will be responsible for growing Heritage Action’s grassroots infrastructure in Cincinnati and nearby areas in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.“Brad brings a wealth of experience in and knowledge of Cincinnati politics,” said Michael Needham, Heritage Action’s CEO, in a prepared statement.“His knowledge of Cincinnati and the surrounding region will be essential to ensuring that the American people’s voices cut through the big-government noise in Washington as we fight to save the America dream,” Needham added.Prior to his latest gig, Beckett almost had the top job in Butler County government. When Monzel was elected to the Hamilton County commission, Beckett discreetly lined up another job as Butler County administrator. Two commissioners there hatched the plan privately but one abruptly changed his mind a day before Beckett’s employment was to have begun, leaving him without a job.More recently Beckett has been working at the Apple Store in Kenwood Towne Center and launched The Political Daily Download, a right-leaning blog. Also, he assisted in Tom Brinkman’s unsuccessful campaign to win the Republican nomination to run for the Ohio House 27th District seat.Founded in 2010, Heritage Action for America is the sister organization to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. The newer group’s motto is “we hold Congress accountable to conservative principles,” and it was formed mostly because the foundation isn’t allowed to back pieces of legislation due to its tax-exempt status.One of Heritage Action’s first projects was to organize opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health-care reform law pushed by President Obama.Among Heritage Foundation’s primary donors is Charles Koch, one half of the infamous Koch Brothers duo. They’re the industrialists who helped form the Tea Party movement, which advocates for corporate interests that benefit the brothers and harm the working class.Also, the Kochs led the push to abolish collective bargaining rights for public-sector labor unions in Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere.
3 Comments · Wednesday, December 7, 2011
If you’re like most people, you would jump
at the chance to buy something that you wanted if it was offered at
just one-third of its normal price. That’s exactly what happened last week when two of the three Hamilton County commissioners offered to sell the county-owned Drake Center to
the University of Cincinnati at a rock-bottom price.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
reporter asked a few parents in line if they thought something was wrong
with an educational system in which some schools are so much better
than others that they warrant camping out to get into, he was informed
that if his “drug addict parents did things like this” he “wouldn’t be
making $20,000 a year, living in an apartment and standing out in the
cold like a dumbass” with them.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
One of Cincinnati’s
unique treasures is celebrating a major anniversary this year. Mount
Airy Forest, the 1,471-acre park and nature preserve on the city’s
northwest edge, was established 100 years ago. The Park Board
commemorated the event earlier this month with a day-long event that
included songs, storytelling and historical reenactments.
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Last week's extended soap opera at City Hall about how to fill a $54.7 million deficit in the budget ended anti-climatically, with differing City Council factions temporarily solving the dilemma by resorting to the same sort of tricks they did last year — instead of showing leadership or political courage, the mayor and nine elected council members decided to use $27 million in one-time sources of cash to patch over the immediate problem and approve studies into possible changes that could yield the rest of the savings.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Concern is quickly growing over the New Year's Eve deaths of red-winged blackbirds, grackles and starlings that fell out of the skies over Beebe, Ark., with the most likely explanations involving biblical end times, secret government weapons testing and aliens mistakenly thinking birds are in charge of Earth because they can fly.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Anyone familiar with the political career of Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding probably isn't too surprised that some local groups are accusing him of being “two-faced” and reneging on a promise he allegedly made behind closed doors. The groups say Berding told Cincinnati's police union that he would only support the city's proposed streetcar system if it was fully funded by federal grants.
GOP election victories likely mean more gridlock, posturing
0 Comments · Monday, November 22, 2010
This month's midterm elections represented a political windfall for Republicans, and many right-wingers see the victories as a mandate for smaller government and a public rejection of the Obama administration. Still, former State Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr. says, "The best thing that happened for Republicans, from a political position, is that they did not win the Senate." That gives the new Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, "a tremendous amount of power."
Election means GOP resumes control of Hamilton County government
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 3, 2010
With Republican Chris Monzel's decisive victory Tuesday night, the Hamilton County Commission will now return to GOP control after four years of having a Democratic majority. Monzel received 56 percent of the votes cast, compared to Democrat Jim Tarbell's 44 percent. A difference of 35,066 votes separated the candidates, according to final, uncertified results at the Hamilton County Board of Elections.