Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry is continuing to seek support for a 0.25 percentage-point increase in the county sales tax.
Due to passage of the state budget, the county’s tax rate recently increased from 6.5 percent to 6.75 percent.
Barry says the department is in “dire straits.” Unfortunately, many families in Summit County are in the same situation. With stagnant or falling wages, higher living expenses and increased taxes, most households are struggling to survive.
Under the latest state budget, homeowners will see a 12.5 percent increase in real estate taxes for new and replacement levies passed after November.
Effective Jan. 1, seniors who apply for the homestead exemption and have incomes over $30,000 will not qualify for an average reduction of $400.
And this November, those who receive the much-needed assistance through federal food assistance will see a decrease in benefits.
Meanwhile, Akron is proposing raising sewer rates in amounts households in dire straits cannot afford.
With the elimination of the Ohio estate tax, which affects only 8 percent of Ohioans, local governments will lose approximately $300 million per year.
The state budget contains nearly $1.5 billion in net revenue losses over the next two years because of reductions in income tax rates and new exemptions for small business incomes.
The income rate reduction will save the middle 20 percent of income earners $9 per year, but it will cost the lowest 20 percent $12 more per year. As for the exemption for business income, 80.2 percent of businesses in Ohio generate less than $25,000 in taxable income, with a maximum savings of $373.
State leaders should do more to help local communities provide high- quality schools, public safety and infrastructure. Instead of tax policies that favor the wealthy, funds could have been used to restore support for local communities.
The state’s leaders say how great financial conditions are, but that is at the expense of local communities. It will only get worse, and it is not fair to keep asking households to keep footing the bill.
It will fall on the residents to face levies and higher property and local taxes. The Ohio General Assembly is to blame for much of this.
Unfriendly to jobs and business
I was sorry to hear that Cuyahoga Falls Councilman Don Walters, a candidate for mayor, not only voted against the GetGo tax abatement without first checking with the Woodridge school board (because the district was the most affected), but also, even after he heard the board was in favor, that Walters said would not change his vote (“Falls vote won’t help Woodridge”).
Is that really being a representative of the people, or is he making decisions based on his own prejudices? Can we afford to have a person who is against business development and bringing jobs to the city as mayor? I do not think so.
Compromise for the greater good
Every individual has a right to his or her opinion, and that is what makes this country great. When those opinions lead to stubbornness so great that our government is forced to shut down, shouldn’t those unyielding individuals think about compromise for the good of the nation? Shouldn’t common sense and the desire to do what is best for the people as a whole have a higher priority than one’s individual agenda?
The biggest hurdle we face is that an entire political party can be forced to follow the extremist views of a minority because its members fear the repercussions of the leadership.
Republicans would have the White House if the majority of the people agreed with all of their positions. President Obama was re-elected because our society is changing, and the Republican Party’s views do not reflect those of the people today.
I used to vote almost strictly Republican because I would like to see less government, but when Republican candidates also want to keep people from having equal rights, I can’t in good conscience continue to support them.
So why, instead of becoming slightly more socially liberal, is the Republican Party heading in the opposite direction? Why is the party being controlled by the tea party, which represents only a small percentage of voters?
Why doesn’t the Democratic Party give a little, in the interest of compromise?
If our current leadership cannot cross party lines for the greater good, then I will do my part and try to vote them out.
Our current Congress makes me want to run for office as an independent so that I can use common sense to make decisions rather than do what other people tell me to do. Isn’t that what our Founding Fathers envisioned?
We need to be represented by people who can compromise and accept that not everything will always be the way they want it.
If you put up a great fight every time you don’t get your way, then people will not take you seriously. Congress is no longer credible in the eyes of the majority because of this.
Stephen A. Michalec
Open primaries, to reach the center
Under our current partisan primary system, zealots from each party hold sway, ensuring polarizing posturing in the halls of Congress.
When compromise becomes a dirty word, the guts of Capitol Hill becomes affected.
Perhaps it’s time to flush the system, turning to open primaries in which the fanatic minority positions of the partisans will be marginalized by workable, centrist viewpoints embraced by the majority.
Max W. Fischer
Misunderstanding the pope
I read with interest the Oct. 6 letter “A pope’s visionary leadership.” My interest soon changed to frustration. So many non-Christian, non-Catholics seem to want to weigh in on Pope Francis and what they perceive to be a changing church.
The remarks from this truly open pope have sparked much discussion, most of it misunderstanding not only his remarks, but also his willingness to make changes special-interest groups would like.
Pope Francis is an orthodox Catholic who loves all people. He loves people who, because of their sin, are estranged from God and the church. He would forgive and welcome them to the bosom of God’s love. He has a special empathy for the poor, as all Catholics should. This is a command from Jesus.
Priests do not own property in common with the church. While some priests may have private estates, the church cannot inherit unless the priest wills it. Priests and monks, under a vow of poverty, have no property or wealth.
This is not the reason for celibacy, a tradition unlikely to change. As for the church position on same-sex attraction, divine law cannot change; it is not in the pope’s power to make changes there.
The property and art of the church are without price, just like other museums. No sale of these things is possible, and, if it was, there would remain poor and starving after those billions were spent. To suggest otherwise is ignorance.
Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services are humanitarian agencies of the Catholic community and are the world’s largest charities. These charities are funded largely by individual Catholics by their contributions. Catholic Charities alone serves nearly 10 million people every year in the U.S. with basic needs, without regard for religion, race or ethnicity.
Ignorance does not provide license to criticize. Fact-checking would defray the appearance of foolishness.
On the attack
Instead of being a good employer and a responsible community member, FirstEnergy has launched an aggressive attack on workers and the environment.
As part of this attack, FirstEnergy is demanding concessions from its employees and is attempting to repeal Ohio’s clean energy initiatives and energy efficiency standards — measures that keep money in ratepayers’ pockets and create jobs across our state.
That is not right. Thanks to its ratepayers, FirstEnergy made more than $770 million in profits in 2012 and paid its top five executives a combined $40 million.
But there’s a catch
A sure-fire way to stop these embarrassing federal shutdowns would be to amend the Constitution so that once a shutdown begins, all salaries, benefits and travel expenses for members of Congress and the president would be stopped. The problem is that it takes a two-thirds majority to send an amendment to the states for ratification.