Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Chance for Cincinnati to Play It Straight

The ominous date 6/6/6 also presented a welcome opportunity for Cincinnati voters to do local government the right way, by taxing themselves for needed services.

Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich announced an initiative to raise the Hamilton County sales tax by .25% to finance construction of a much-needed new jail. More surprising for the politically solo (or irritating and divisive, depending on one's perspective) Heimlich was that he had assembled a coalition of support for the plan, including Si Leis (who apparently would sell his children to get a jail) and Municipal-Uncle-Pennybags Carl Lindner (will the new facility be the "Lindner Family Detention Center"?).

Even the perpetually-against-everything organization COAST came out in favor of the tax hike. State Representative and COAST spokesman Tom Brinkman (R-Math Impairment) intoned, "This is not a sales tax increase. It's a property tax reduction."

Yes, the plan will roll back property taxes by $28 per year on a $100k house. So if a person living is such a house spent less than $11,200 per year on sales-taxable goods, that person would experience a savings. We doubt that many will, especially in Brinkman's tony Mt. Lookout district. We wonder whether Rep. Brinkman bothered to think how a tax reduction would pay for a jail. Really, we wonder whether he expects to have any credibility with his supposedly consistent anti-tax rhetoric after coming out in favor of a tax increase to support a project that he likes.

So who wins and who loses with this? Heimlich wins, proving himself to be able to get something done as a county commissioner. David Pepper, Heimlich's opponent in November, loses big time, left insisting on a sleazy slots parlor to pay for a jail instead of an honest and modest sales tax increase with a more modest property tax roll-back in the mix. Todd Portune, who will likely vote against the initiative, loses, as he ends up on the sleazy side too. The Broadway Commons casino cabal loses really big time. Criminals will lose too. Citizens win.

And if this measure passes, we might take back all the nasty things we said about Si Leis. Maybe.


Anonymous said...

The Dean just posted a transcript of a speech by a campaign donor describing how he bribed Phil Heimlich.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Sounds pretty sinister: donors find a politician with whom they share points of view, donors donate, politician asks donors for ideas or input, donors suggest a "Character Council" from which they receive no personal benefit whatsoever, politician initiates "Character Council."

Oooh! Promoting "character" in Cincinnati. How sinister! How extremely right wing! Battle stations, lovers of freedom!

Phil Heimlich can be criticized for being egotistical, divisive, stubborn, mean and a lot of other things. But if this is the best anyone can do to label him corrupt, then his opponents are pathetic.

Bribery implies a quid pro quo arranged as a condition of payment. Asking a donor about policy ideas is not accepting a bribe.

"The Dean" refers to the initiator of this non-bribe as an associate of the "Gothardites." If he refers to associates of Bill Gothard, a formerly-well-known, fringe Christian speaker of ever-declining influence whom we have criticized for years for his outrageously tendentious eisegesis of Scripture, then I suggest that "The Dean" devote his time to watching figures with an actual chance of influencing public policy.

Short version: get a life.

Anonymous said...

Arizona State Treasurer David Petersen, closely affiliated with the "Character First" movement, is under investigation for accepting illegal contributions in exchange for establishing "character training" programs in that state, similar to the programs established by Phil Heimlich in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati insurance salesman Mike Daly has stated that Heimlich assisted him in establishing the program in Cincinnati after Daly made a campaign contribution to Heimlich.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that "The Dean" devote his time to watching figures with an actual chance of influencing public policy.

Presumably that list would include Ken Blackwell.