Morning News and Stuff

CityBeat endorsements unveiled, report slams JobsOhio, tax reform could hurt city budgets

CityBeat yesterday revealed its endorsements for the City Council and mayoral races. Check them out

here

. Also, early voting is now underway. Find your voting location

here

. Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days are extended.

JobsOhio and similar privatized development agencies in other states

create scandals and potentials of conflicts of interests instead of jobs

, according to an Oct. 23 report from Good Jobs First. The report found that privatized development agencies in seven states, including Ohio, tend to also exaggerate job claims and resist basic oversight. JobsOhio in particular is chaired by people who donated to Gov. John Kasich’s campaign. The agency also received public money without informing the legislature, and it gained a legal exemption from full public audits, public records laws and open meeting rules. Kasich and Republican legislators in 2011 established JobsOhio to replace the Ohio Department of Development. They argue JobsOhio’s privatized, secretive nature helps the agency establish job-creating development deals at the “speed of business.” But Democrats say JobsOhio is ripe for abuse, difficult to hold accountable and unclear in its results.

A bill that intends to bring uniformity to Ohio’s complex municipal income tax code

got a makeover

, but cities say the bill still reduces their revenues. Business groups are pushing for the bill so they can more easily work from city to city and county to county without dealing with a web of different forms and regulations, but cities are concerned they’ll lose as much as $2 million a year. Many cities already lost some state funding after Kasich and the Republican legislature

slashed local government funding

, which reduced revenues for Cincinnati in particular by $22.2 million in 2013, according to City Manager Milton Dohoney.

Opponents of Issue 4, the tea party-backed city charter amendment that would semi-privatize Cincinnati’s pension system, say it could force the city to cut services by 41 percent or raise taxes significantly. CityBeat analyzed the amendment in further detail here.

Converting Mercy Mt. Airy Hospital into a crime lab for the county coroner’s office

could cost $21.5 million

, well under the previously projected $56 million. Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco says it could be the most economical way for the county to get a crime lab, which the coroner’s office says it desperately needs. Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman says he’s still concerned about operating costs, but he’ll review the new estimates and advise county commissioners on how to proceed.

An Over-the-Rhine business owner says Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC)

“dropped the ball” with incentives for retail businesses

, and he’s now looking to move his store, Joseph Williams Home, to the suburbs. Specifically, Fred Arrowood says 3CDC has done a lot to accommodate restaurants and bars, but it failed to live up to promises to attract and retain retail businesses. But 3CDC points to its own numbers: Spaces in OTR are currently leased in contracts with 20 businesses, 15 restaurants or bars and 14 soft goods retailers.

Cincinnati State and the University of Cincinnati yesterday

signed an agreement

that will make it easier for students with two-year degrees at Cincinnati State to get four-year degrees at UC.

The Cincinnati Enquirer hosted a City Council candidate forum yesterday. Find their coverage

here

.

Northeast Ohio Media:

“Ohio abortion clinic closings likely to accelerate under new state regulations.”

( CityBeat reported on the regulations, which were passed with the two-year state budget,

here

.)

Gov. Kasich and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, two Republicans widely perceived as potential presidential candidates in 2016,

don’t register even 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire

, a key primary state.

Cincinnati-based Omnicare

agreed to pay $120 million

to resolve a case involving alleged kickbacks and false claims, according to lawyers representing a whistleblower. The company says the settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.

Chef David Falk of Boca wrote a moving love letter to Cincinnati

.

On Oct. 29, local residents will be able to

give feedback

to Cincinnati officials about the city budget — and also nab some free pizza. The open budgeting event is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at

1115 Bates Ave.

, Cincinnati.

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