Category Archives: Ohio

Unsustainable Spending Drives Local School Levies

In a November 2 policy brief, Buckeye Institute reveals the real reason for the Ohio Education Association claim that state-level funding cuts require many school districts to introduce new levies.

The Institute presents historical evidence for school district overspending. Average annual inflation has been around 4.2 percent since 1975 while school spending has increased by 5.5 percent on average during the same time period. In many Ohio school districts, average teacher compensation is 50% higher than the average income of residents in their communities. While the current legislature has increased school funding, median income is declining. Since 2001, median has declined 16 percent.

Because employee compensation consumes 96 percent of most school budgets, Ohio overspending on schooling is simply unsustainable.

How can this problem be fixed? The Buckeye Institute makes the following proposal:

“Simply providing more tax revenue is not going to solve the problem. If taxpayers in this state are ever to get a break from the hamster wheel of local levies, compensation reforms are essential. To accomplish this, collective bargaining reform cannot be swept under the rug indefinitely.” Changing Ohio collective bargaining law, local school boards would have more flexibility to adjust compensation to reflect current fiscal reality.

To read the policy brief, go to

Mandel’s Debt Management Office Director: An Answer to Cronyism Allegations

by Daniel Downs

U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel is being accused of cronyism by incumbent Sherrod Brown. Mandel is guilty but with some qualification. Obviously, before becoming Ohio’s Treasurer, Mandel had his sights on Congress. When he became Treasurer he hired his friend and campaign manager Joe Aquilino. Keeping Joe’s valuable services for his present and future work was important for Mandel’s future success.

Yes, Mandel deserves criticism for hiring an inexperienced investment bonds manager. If you read how Aquilino’s job is described you will glimpse Mandel’s reasonable strategy. First, he is referred to as the Director of the Debt Management Office and not of the Office of Debt Management. Second, the following is an excerpt from an April 4, 2012 Huffington Post article in which is disclosed Mandel’s view of Aquilino’s position:

“Joe is a licensed attorney. He managed staff in the Debt Management Department, and worked under Seth Metcalf’s direction on debt issuances,” Unger said. “Mr. Metcalf has extensive experience with debt issues, and continues to be the key person overseeing debt issuances in the treasurer’s office.”

In other words, Mandel hired experienced bonds manager Seth Metcalf to handle debt management. He kept attorney Joe Aquilino employed because he is an excellent manager of people and organizations. That is also why Aquilino is now employed as Mandel campaign manager.

Mandel was not rewarding his buddies with big jobs as campaign booty. Rather, it was a wise business decision: keeping a valuable employee.

Sherrod Brown & Josh Mandel Debate

Paul Ryan on the Economy



The Division of Unclaimed Funds is reuniting Ohioans with their lost treasure. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Division paid 58,953 claims, a 27.5% increase over the prior fiscal year.

The Division returned $61.1 million in FY 2012, a .3% increase over the prior fiscal year. The average paid claim was $1,037.

“Through aggressive outreach, the Division of Unclaimed Funds is working to reunite even more Ohioans with their hard-earned money,” said David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce. “These funds boost our economy as Ohioans use the funds to buy a tank of gas, pay off some bills, make needed home repairs, enjoy a vacation or expand a business.”

Unclaimed funds consist of monies or the right to monies that have been dormant or forgotten. These funds are reported to the State of Ohio for safekeeping until the rightful owners can be found. Some common examples include: dormant checking and savings accounts, forgotten rent and utility deposits, uncashed checks, undelivered stock certificates, and uncashed insurance policies.

The Division marked its 30th anniversary in January and encouraged Ohioans to step forward and claim their unclaimed treasure. Since the Division was created in January 1982 through June 30, 2012, it has paid more than 857,000 claims worth $862 million.

In FY 2012, the Division expanded its outreach focus to Ohio’s schools as part of Governor John R. Kasich request to every department in his administration to find ways to help local governments without further burdening taxpayers. During the fiscal year, the Division returned approximately $111,000 to 69 schools.

The Division’s Online Treasure Hunt at continues to be a popular means for Ohioans to search for unclaimed funds and to initiate the claims process. Approximately 84% of all claims initiated in FY 2012 were through the search function on the Division’s website.

The Division added a new customer service feature to its website this year that allows claimants to check on their claim’s status while it is being reviewed.

Deer Season Safety

During the day or at night, encountering a deer while you’re on the road can be dangerous and scary. Deer season is upon us and the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition would like to remind you that your safety on Greene County roadways is a top priority. In 2011, there were 22,717 deer-vehicle crashes statewide with 902 people injured and seven people killed. November saw the most crashes with 5,476, or 182 per day. Greene County saw its fair share of deer-vehicle activity in 2011 totaling 354 crashes resulting in 17 injuries, but no fatalities. Because many deer-vehicle collisions go unreported to police and local authorities, the actual number of crashes throughout Ohio may be as high as 60,000 each year. Last year, the areas with the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes were urban areas.

What can you do to stay safe during deer season? Knowing what to do when you encounter a large animal on or near the roadway can be a life-saver. Here are some tips:
  • Deer are most often along the road side near dawn (7AM) and again at dusk (7:30PM).
  • Deer highly active and on the move from October through early January.
  • Deer are most frequently found on the outskirts of town and in heavily wooded areas.
  • Deer usually travel in pacts.
  • To avoid a deer-vehicle collision, slow down.
  • Always wear a seatbelt.
  • Watch for the shine of eyes along the roadside and immediately begin to slow.
  • Use your high beams whenever the road is free of oncoming traffic.
  • Slow down and flash your lights if you see a deer standing in the road.
  • Some experts recommend one long blast of the horn to scare them out of the road.
  • Pay close attention to caution signs indicating deer or other large animals.
  • If you’re on a multi-lane road, drive in the center lane.
  • Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road.
  • Don’t rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer.
  • If you do collide with a deer, call emergency services if injuries are involved.
  • If you do collide with a deer, call local police if no one is injured.
  • If you do collide with a deer, peport it to your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Keeping calm and driving smart improve your chances of avoiding a collision and staying safe on the road. These tips have been provided by Dawn McCaslin, For more information on the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, call Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669 or email her at

    Private Sector Job Growth Stalls, Labor Force Shrinks

    The August 2012 Ohio by the Numbers report hows that several recent months of solid private sector job growth hit a snag in August. According to preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Ohio’s private sector lost 2,900 jobs, freezing the state’s ranking at 13 for the fastest growing private sector since January 2010.

    Overall, 2012 has seen reasonable private sector job growth numbers with nearly 96,000 created since January.

    Ohio’s unemployment rate remained at 7.2 percent in August, which is nearly a full percent below the national average of 8.1 percent. However, the fact that Ohio’s labor force shrunk by 19,100 in August constitutes a significant cause for concern. This represents the third month in a row that the labor force has gotten smaller in Ohio. In fact, it has shrunk by 59,900 since May while the total number of private sector jobs created over that time span was only 34,800.

    Overall highlights from the report:
  • Ohio lost 2,900 private sector jobs in June while gaining 900 government jobs;
  • Ohio remains 13th nationally in terms of private sector job growth since January 2010, growing at a 4.7 percent rate;
  • Ohio currently ranks 46th for private sector job growth since January of 1990, growing at 7.3 percent (top ranked Nevada grew 83.5 percent over the same time span).
  • Within individual industry sectors, Leisure and Hospitality finally joined Professional and Business Services and Education and Health Services as the only sectors to have more people employed in them today than in either 1990 or 2000.

    The report shows that Forced Union states (which includes Ohio and most of its neighbors with the recent exception of Indiana, which became a worker freedom state in February) had a private sector growth rate far below Worker Freedom states. Since 1990, Worker Freedom states’ private sector jobs grew at a 36 percent rate vs. only 13 percent for Forced Union states (12.3 million vs. 7.8 million).

    Even during the decade from 2000-2010, which included the tech bubble burst of 2000 and the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009, Worker Freedom states gained jobs for a minimal growth of around 0.1 percent while Forced Union states lost 5 percent. Since 2010, Worker Freedom states also outperformed Forced Union states, growing at a 4.6 percent rate vs. 3.8 percent.

    To view the full report, please click here.

    Ohio by the Numbers compares Ohio to other states in overall private sector job growth over several distinct time spans. The periods analyzed are: from 1990 until the present day, from peak employment in 2000 through the present day and from the beginning of the current decade to the present day.

    Romney’s October 10, 2012 Sidney Speech


    State Fire Marshal Urges Everyone To “Have Two Ways Out!”

    The Division of State Fire Marshal and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are teaming up during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012, to urge Ohioans to “Have Two Ways Out!” This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice, and knowing what to do when the smoke alarm sounds in your home.

    “When people die in a fire, there’s usually no working smoke alarm.” said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers. “In addition to having working smoke alarms, it is extremely important for you to know how to escape quickly from any room in your home.”

    Marshal Flowers said fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. He added that having a tried and true escape plan with two ways out is essential to ensure your family’s safety should fire break out.

    The Division of State Fire Marshal offers these tips for planning your family’s escape:

  • Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
  • Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
  • Get out and stay out.
  • Teach 911, and make certain kids know to call form outside the home in a fire emergency.
  • Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone who lives in your home.
  • Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan at least twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
  • Working smoke alarms are also a must. More than 90% of fatal fires in Ohio occur in homes without working smoke alarms. The Division of State Fire Marshal recommends smoke alarms on every level of the home and inside each sleeping area.

    For more Fire Prevention information, please visit the Division of State Fire Marshal website at

    Ohio Lawyers and Judges Agree on Issue 2

    This fall, Ohioans will be asked to consider a constitutional amendment to change the way the state draws legislative and congressional district maps. Because of the amendment’s direct impact on the Ohio judiciary, the Ohio State Bar Association opposes passage of the amendment.

    Currently, the Ohio Legislature and the Apportionment Board redraw state and congressional district maps every 10 years to reflect population shifts. The proposed measure would create a 12-person citizen commission consisting of registered voters selected and vetted through a panel of appellate court judges. Further, the proposed amendment could force the Supreme Court of Ohio to select a plan should the commission be unable to come to an agreement, and if a court battle ensued over the proposed commission’s plan, the proposal could force the Supreme Court of Ohio to choose between possibly unconstitutional plans.

    While the OSBA and OJC take no position on the merits of the proposed constitutional amendment on redistricting (i.e., we take no position on whether the legislature, the Apportionment Board, the commission or any other entity should draw congressional district and state general assembly lines), we have deep concerns about requiring judges of Ohio’s Courts of Appeal to vet and appoint commission members, and the proposed amendment’s attempt to force the Supreme Court of Ohio, or any court, to select a proposed commission plan. The proper role for the judiciary is not to develop any redistricting plan, but rather to review such plans should they be challenged in court.

    This proposed amendment:

  • Undermines the important constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers where each of the three co-equal branches undertakes particular responsibilities. This proposal inappropriately takes executive and legislative appointment authority and moves it to the judiciary. This politicizes the judicial branch of government, which must remain independent, fair and impartial;
  • Involves the Chief Justice and the appellate judges in political activity unbefitting their offices because the proposal would not insulate these judges from attempted political influence by interest groups in terms of commission appointments and plan selection; and
  • Places these judges, and Ohio’s judicial branch as a whole, in a potential position of conflict should the proposal become law and should a plan face judicial review.
  • All of this undermines the importance of maintaining a fair, impartial and independent judiciary—a sacred and fundamental principle of our constitutional democracy.

    For these reasons, it is the position of the OSBA (and OJC) that it is inappropriate for the judiciary to be involved in the political process that initiates and proposes political boundaries and that the amendment should not be adopted.

    By directly involving the judicial branch of our Ohio government in the most political of activities, that is, redistricting, the proposed amendment attacks a most fundamental of constitutional safeguards, the separation of powers. Therefore, the OSBA opposes this proposal.