Morning News and Stuff

Ohio unemployment unchanged in May, budget overhauls taxes, streetcar vote Monday

Ohio Statehouse
Ohio Statehouse

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7 percent in May, unchanged from April and down from 7.3 percent in May 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by the

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

. Although the number of unemployed increased by 5,000 between April and May, the number of employed also increased by 32,100, keeping the rate relatively stable. Most sectors tracked in the report, including government, gained jobs.

The final version of the state budget would

cut income taxes and create a state-based earned income tax credit

, but it would also hike the sales tax and make changes to property taxes that effectively increase rates. Republican state legislators rolled out the tax plan yesterday as a compromise between the Ohio House and Senate plans. The final version looks a lot more like Gov. John Kasich’s original tax proposal, which left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio

criticized for favoring the wealthy

. The budget must be signed by Kasich by June 30.

City Council is expected to vote on the streetcar project’s $17.4 million budget gap on

Monday

. The gap is a result of construction bids coming in much higher than expected, and solving it would involve

making cuts for a slew of capital programs

, including infrastructure projects around the Horseshoe Casino. The cuts will all come from the capital budget, which can’t be used to fund operating budget expenses like police and fire because of limits established in state law.

Three days after City Manager Milton Dohoney signed an agreement leasing the city’s parking meters, lots and garages to the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority, the Port Authority still

hadn’t signed the lease

, and it remains unclear when the agency plans to do so. City spokesperson Meg Olberding told CityBeat she’s confident the Port Authority will sign the lease. But the delays have raised questions about whether there truly will be local control over the city’s parking assets through the Port Authority, given that the agency is already going against the wills and assumptions of the city government by failing to sign the lease.

City Councilman Chris Seelbach announced on Twitter that he and Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel will release a joint statement on the city’s “responsible bidder” ordinance later today. The city and county have been clashing over the ordinance, with county commissioners most recently putting a hold on all Metropolitan Sewer District projects. CityBeat covered the conflict in greater detail

here

.

Federal data released this week shows Ohio has some of the weakest gun laws and, as a result, is a

top source for guns for crimes committed in other states

.

Construction is expected to cause some

downtown ramp closures and restrictions

next week, so prepare for delays or a change in commute.

A Japanese scientist may have to

grow his human organs in pigs

.

The world’s first 3-D printed battery is as

small as a grain of sand

.