Friday, May 23, 2008

No! No! A Thousand Seven Times No!

Like a zombie that just refuses to stay dead, the Pataskala income tax issue is coming back this November for a seventh time:

The Pataskala City Council on Monday placed an income-tax issue on the November general election ballot.

The move marked a reversal of sorts for the council, which had spent weeks debating whether to place an income tax on the August special election ballot. The council even voted twice -- once in late April and once in early May -- to place a 2-percent income tax with a 1-percent credit on the August special election ballot. Both votes ended in deadlocks, so the issue did not make it on the ballot.

No deadlocks occurred Monday.

The council voted 5-1 to place the same 2-percent income tax with a 1-percent credit on the November ballot.

The good news, if there is any, is that it took two months to get the issue on the ballot, and it will be on the general-election ballot, not a special August election. With the interest in the Presidential election, lots of voters will get a chance to weigh in on this tax issue -- an August special election wouldn't attract the same turnout.

As a reminder, here are the previous six failures for this issue:

November 2001 (Pataskala - 1.00% income tax): Against: 71.02% For: 28.98%
November 2002 (Pataskala - 0.75% income tax): Against: 68.61% For: 38.39%
November 2004 (Pataskala - 1.25% income tax, ??? credit): Against: 66.46% For: 33.54%
May 2006 (Pataskala - 1.50% income tax, ??? credit): Against: 58.95% For: 41.05%
November 2006 (1.50% tax, 100% credit): Against: 62.43% For: 37.57%
November 2007 (0.50% tax, no credit): Against: 57.59% For: 42.41%

At 2% / 1% credit, this is the highest proposal yet.

I suggested earlier that this issue would be easier to pass if the Pataskala City Council would simultaneously renounce their ability to collect property tax. I see they chose not to do that.

More analysis later ...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ohio village implements a windfall-profits income tax

Or they'd like to, anyway.

A small Ohio town is proposing a retroactive income tax, to ensure they get a share of a winning lottery ticket sold in that town, presumably to a resident:

Officials in the southwest Ohio village of Amelia say they are resisting the urge to quickly pass a local income tax to get a share of the $196 million lottery ticket that was sold there.

The windfall could mean more than $1 million to the struggling village of about 4,000 people east of Cincinnati.

Pathetic. Had they considered just asking the winner to endow a civic-improvement foundation with some of his/her money?

If the NRA is for it ...

... then the local rag is agin' it, no matter what it is. Today's example is about a small (but NRA-favored, and thus, eeeeeevil) tweak in Ohio laws regarding how firearms can be carried in a vehicle, which would ...

...allow anyone to carry a gun in a motor vehicle as long as it is in a case and unloaded. The case, however, would not have to be locked and the ammunition could be close by and at the ready, so the gun could be loaded quickly. Although the gun clearly would be concealed, no concealed-carry permit would be required to carry a gun in this way.

Although the NRA claims this is a needed boost in Ohioans' self-defense rights, it might just as easily be called the traffic-stop-nightmare bill for police or the drive-by-shooters' helper.

I know this is going to cause shock waves to ripple through the editorial suite of the Dispatch, but most folks heading out to do a drive-by are probably not going to take the time to familiarize themselves with the finer points of Ohio Revised Code. Most responsible citizens don't need a "drive-by-shooters' helper" -- because they don't ever intend to execute a drive-by shooting.

The rest of the editorial is just as silly. Here's another elitist statement:

Landlords who believe banning handguns on their property improves safety should be allowed to impose such bans.

Tenants have freedom of choice of where to live. A renter's wish to own a handgun is a personal preference that cannot be allowed to take precedence over the rights of a property owner.

So those poor unfortunates who have been kicked out of their homes due to predatory mortgage lenders, and are now forced to rent in a high-crime neighborhood as their last, desperate step before homelessness, can't protect themselves if their landlord is a gun-fearing weenie. Protecting your family is not a "personal preference" to these folks -- it is a responsibility that is part of their daily reality. And by the way, their less law-abiding neighbors -- who don't concern themselves with the finer points of Ohio Revised Code, either -- probably are armed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pickerington and Westerville asking for income-tax increases

Story in the Columbus Dispatch this morning. Pickerington is at 1%, going to 2%; Westerville is at 1.25%, also going to 2%. Here's the part I just love:

In both cities, officials plan to sell the tax as an increase that a majority of residents would not pay.

Pickerington estimates that 87 percent of its residents work outside the city, while 67 percent of Westerville's workers earn wages outside the suburb. Both cities give partial credit for taxes paid elsewhere.

So, in other words, the tax burden will fall hardest on small-business owners within Westerville and Pickerington, who have no credits to other cities; or on the workers within those two towns, some of whom won't even get to vote on this or benefit from the tax revenue to any significant degree. Yet these same towns have economic-development initiatives to encourage businesses to relocate or expand in their cities, bringing jobs with them -- as long as they pay up.

If you're wondering why I'm not crazy about allowing Pataskala to join the city income-tax cattle drive, maybe the examples of Pickerington and Westerville wil prove instructive.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More weather radio nonsense

Spook86 at In From The Cold highlights a tiny moment of sanity in the mandatory, subsidized weather-radio debate, courtesy of Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO).

As noted in the comments, once the federally-subsidized weather radios have been distributed, the concerns for public safety are only beginning:

  • Who will inspect the houses in tornado-susceptible areas to ensure the radios are plugged in?
  • Who will subsidize the purchase of batteries for these radios?
  • Most important, who will ensure that people are actually listening to the radio during periods of severe weather?

And why stop at weather radios? Why not build federal tornado shelters out of rebar and concrete on every block? It's not useful to know that a tornado is coming if you don't have a basement, after all.

And then, after someone gets struck by lightning en route to their federal tornado shelter, we can build federal lightning tunnels from each residence to the shelter. And then, federal lightning tunnel security gates that close automatically during floods, so nobody drowns in the tunnel during a flood. But then we'd need a blue-ribbon commission to recommend what to do about tornadoes accompanied by lightning that occur during floods ...