A few facts concerning Ohio’s new budget. Two major changes will affect seniors, the disabled and homeowners. One changes the qualifications for the homestead exemption program, which exempts the first $25,000 of the taxable value of one’s home. The other eliminates the 12.5 percent rollback for homeowners.
Beginning in January, the new homestead plan will institute means-testing. New applicants will have to show they have annual household incomes of less than $30,000 to qualify. Those currently on the program are grandfathered, saving around $400 annually.
By ending a longstanding practice of the state paying 12.5 percent of local levy costs, taxpayers will pay 12.5 percent more for new and replacement levies approved beginning in November. The 12.5 percent rollback is reflected on real estate statements.
The new budget will slash the state income tax by 10 percent over three years and will offer a 50 percent tax reduction to small business owners with up to $250,000 of income.
According to Policy Matters of Ohio and the Institute of Taxation & Economic Policy, 1 percent of income earners will receive an overall tax cut of $6,000. The middle 20 percent of income earners will get a $9 tax cut (also known as lunch at McDonald’s), while the lowest 20 percent will actually pay $12 more.
Effective Sept. 1, the Ohio sales tax will increase from 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent. Another surprise when one files 2013 state taxes, the $20 personal income tax credit has been eliminated for those with adjusted gross incomes above $30,000.
The overall package of tax cuts and tax increases are regressive, placing a disproportionate burden on those with less income. The result of these changes will be to cut more revenue from local governments.
The budget is nothing but a tax-shift scheme. The sales-tax increase, the 12.5 percent rollback and changes in the homestead exemption and personal income tax credit are all for the purpose of reducing the income tax, which favors the wealthy.
Home for vets
In response to the July 9 article “Valor Home gives vets fresh start in Akron”: Yeah to Harry Donovan and others involved in this worthy effort. We will need many more of these homes nationwide. Thanks to staff writer Jim Carney for letting the rest of us know about them.
Regulation to save lives
With regard to the July 7 article “Bessemer Farms calling it quits”: What will it take for people to understand that the new rules are for their protection and the protection of their loved ones? Do they need to lose a family member as I did for them to wake up?
I lived in Medina for most of my life. In January 2009, my mother, Nellie Napier of Medina, died from eating peanut butter from the Peanut Corporation of America’s plant in Georgia. The product was known to be tainted before it was shipped. The president of PCA was Stewart Parnell.
I would love for none of this to have happened and to have my mother back, but it just isn’t going to happen. Please don’t blame the government or the rules. Blame people like Parnell for taking shortcuts, not following his own safety standards and ignoring failed inspections. He shipped known tainted products, which killed nine people, including my mother, and sickened hundreds of others just to make a buck.
These rules are being put in place to prevent owners like him from hurting innocent people and children. For the honest farmers who do everything they can to produce and ship fruits and vegetables that do not contain harmful bacteria, all I can say is: I am sorry. I lobbied to help pass the Food Safety Modernization Act to stop owners like Parnell, not to put honest farmers out of business.
God, marriage and the Bible
The Founding Fathers were wise to forbid Congress from establishing an official religion, and the July 3 letter on the Bible and homosexuality (“Marriage in the Bible”) illustrates why.
Many verses in the Bible can be interpreted a number of ways. The verses from Matthew 19 quoted in the letter do give a rationale for heterosexual marriage, but they say nothing that would prohibit homosexual marriage.
The writer left out the subsequent verses in Matthew 19 where Jesus clearly prohibits divorce except in cases of infidelity. I have not seen any rallies condemning divorce.
The so-called Christian right likes to quote the verses that seem to support its bigotry, but ignore ones that are inconvenient. It really doesn’t matter what the Bible says because our laws are not, and should not be, based on the Bible or any other religious text.
One belief stated in this and other recent letters espousing a biblical view of marriage is that homosexuality is a choice as opposed to an inborn trait. This is nonsense.
How do I know? Because I’m a human being with a sex drive, like most other human beings. The human sex drive is a powerful force. Look at all the foolish and embarrassing things some members of Congress have done because of their sex drives. I happen to cherish women and have been strongly attracted to females since I was a little boy. I did not choose to be so; God made me this way. Why should it be any different for homosexuals?
Given all the hassles gays and lesbians have to endure, why would any thinking person believe they have chosen to be homosexual? God made them homosexual, and it follows that if God made them that way, homosexuality cannot be a sin, however one chooses to interpret the Bible.
With all the serious problems facing our nation and the world, it is a real shame that some people have chosen to concern themselves with the sexual orientation of a small percentage of our population, something that should be no one else’s business.
Listen and help
My condolences to Barb Wildermuth and her family in the loss of her husband (“CDC says baby boomer suicide rates on the rise,” July 7).
According to the article, her husband was denied a psychiatric evaluation during his October 2009 hospitalization. Regrettably, the hospital turned a deaf ear to his cries for help.
The least a hospital can do for anyone is to refer the patient to his or her family physician, who could prescribe antidepressants. If higher dosages are needed, the physician could refer the patient to a psychiatrist.
This is true for depressed family members whether or not they are suicidal. May God bless the Wildermuths and other grieving families.
Where government doesn’t belong
It amazes me that Gov. John Kasich can feel good about signing House Bill 59, a restrictive and punishing bill for women that throws the gender equity balance back to the Dark Ages.
At a time when nationally our thinking seems to be growing in an illuminated fashion, recognizing that love and commitment cannot, and should not, be “allowed” for only heterosexual humans, our state now has the audacity to view women as incapable to make a decision about their health, their bodies.
As a volunteer at a clinic, I have met many of the women who need the medical and surgical services offered by Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. I can tell you the decisions these women make are not made blithely, without thought, but are made between their doctor, their families and themselves.
And that is how personal decisions should be made. Government has no business here. The option of adoption is always a part of the discussion that goes on in our clinics, and I know that many young women do make this choice. But it is clearly that — a choice. To mandate listening to a fetal heartbeat for a victim of rape or incest is simply cruel, unnecessary humiliation. I find it hard to believe our state government would sink to this level of shaming women.
By cutting funding to Planned Parenthood and other health providers, Kasich is sending women back to an era of back-alley procedures, which can and did endanger the lives of mother and child and put more of a financial burden on the populace as we tend to those who need medical and emotional support.
Kasich says that he wants to extend Medicaid to those who are most needy. Many who come to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics come because it is financially feasible and because the quality of care, both medical and personal, is outstanding.
We treat women and men as people who are quite capable of making decisions about their lives, their family and their future.
As a believer that education lays the path for understanding, I beseech our state leaders to read, to visit, to talk with the many people who rely on health services at clinics such as those Planned Parenthood offer. I would hope that their stories would move our legislators to retract these restrictive measures ASAP.