In "Reading, Writing and Reece's Arithmetic" (Porkopolis, issue of March 23-29), Gregory Flannery is right about the inconsistency of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County barring MTV's Rock the Vote registration drive last fall, but I believe it's harsh to label their plea "politicking on the public's dime." I say this because I feel connected to the librarians in my community.
When everyone else is complaining about the youth on the street, the library system is providing resources and programs to expand the imaginations of young people. Look around the library Downtown or in any of the under-served communities that will suffer from Gov. Taft's budget cuts. I see students doing research, youth with no reason to go home anytime soon after school and a spectrum of Cincinnati's neighbors.
I feel that speaking up against cuts in funding is an urgent matter, and library officials should lead. I don't see it as a political issue — although I know it is — but instead I see it as a working to serve the public. This is no different than what they do every day (for now at least) — serving the public.
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County can have my dime! Plus, what the hell does MTV know about rocking anything?
Tax Plan a Gimmick
Gov. Bob Taft's tax reform proposal is long on creativity but short on effectiveness. It features income-tax rate cuts that will worsen the state's long-term finances and a patchwork of taxes that shift the burden to middle- and lower-income families. At the same time, the package doesn't generate the revenue we need to invest in the long-term future of our state.
According to a study conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit research group that has a computer model of the tax system, Taft's income-tax cut plan is good news for wealthier taxpayers. If you make more than $274,000, then you're part of that 1 percent of Ohioans who on average will get more than $8,000 apiece from it. This small group will receive almost a quarter of the benefit from the income-tax rate cut. On the other hand, the 60 percent of us who make less than $43,000 a year will receive just 14 percent of the total income tax break.
These cuts make Ohio's tax system less fair because they flatten out the graduated rate structure of Ohio's progressive income tax. ... The tax cuts for the wealthy are offset by regressive taxes that disproportionately affect lower- and middle-income families. For example, under Taft's plan the tax on beer and wine in Ohio would double, sales taxes would increase and $1.40 a month would be added to everyone's electricity bill.
The worst part about the tax plan is that it doesn't get the job done. The plan doesn't raise enough money for the investments we need to make Ohio a great place to live and do business, like providing good schools and colleges and accessible parks and libraries. At the same time, it squeezes local governments' ability to provide essential services such as police and fire protection, while chopping health services to those unable to afford them.
We need to stick with the evidence, which shows the way to add jobs and grow the economy is by having a skilled, educated workforce. This takes adequate, long-term revenue sources, not tax cuts that will weaken our educational system.
We've seen enough tax gimmicks. Ohio needs to provide a real fix. Our elected officials must pay better attention to tax fairness for all of us when they do.