Lame Duck Moving Along; Debating Changes to Income Tax System For Cities

Lame duck has been moving along quickly, with actions taken on traffic cameras, execution drugs, and a sweeping agriculture bill that seek to deal with the state’s toxic algae problem. The Senate confirmed two appointees of Republican Gov. John Kasich – Craig Butler to head the state EPA and Rick Hodges to lead the Department of Health, both in votes that were mostly along party lines. House Democrats have elected Dayton Rep. Fred Strahorn their next leader – former and newly elected Rep. David Leland of Columbus had been considered a candidate, but dropped out before the final vote. Meanwhile, the list of Democrats saying they want to be state party chair is growing longer.

Of the six Ohio governors who served more than one term, one definitely stands out – James A. Rhodes. A lot of books have been written about his four four-year terms as governor, but there’s still a lot that isn’t known about him. A new book titled “James A Rhodes: Ohio Colossus” tracks the rise of Rhodes from his modest upbringing in Jackson County to his athletic accomplishments to his long political career, beginning on the school board and ending as one of just six governors anywhere in the US who served four four-year terms. One of the book’s three co-authors is Lee Leonard, a longtime member of the Statehouse press corps who reported for UPI and the Columbus Dispatch until he retired a few years ago.

A plan to overhaul the state’s municipal income tax system has been proposed twice in the last two years. Critics say Ohio’s existing municipal income tax system is needlessly complicated, preserves loopholes and is a deterrent to attracting businesses to the state. But the current proposed fix has been hotly debated. Opponents of the reform bill that’s now in the Senate say it could mean a significant loss of revenue to some communities, while also taking away local control and giving it to the state. Greg Lawson is with the Buckeye Institute, which calls itself a free-market think tank – he supports the idea of reform. Kent Scarrett is with the Ohio Municipal League, which represents some 600 Ohio cities and villages across the state.

On last week's show, Jon Honeck and Bill LaFayette talked about their report on the "greying of Ohio" and its impact on the state budget. But AARP says that study from the Center for Community Solutions says it's not the full picture. AARP's Nancy Leamond talks about the AARP's study on the "Longevity Economy", and about the impact of fewer older Ohioans retiring.

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