Morning News and Stuff

Council may vote on parking today, GOP criticizes Kasich's budget, casino's grand opening

Making cash, spending cash
Making cash, spending cash

City Council may vote today on the controversial plan to

lease the city’s parking assets to fund economic development and temporarily balance the deficit

. On Friday, Councilman Chris Seelbach

put forward Plan S

, which would redirect $7.5 million in casino revenues, cut $5 million based on the results of the city's priority-driven budgeting and allow voters to choose between a $10-per-month trash fee or increase the city's admissions tax by 2 percent. Previously, City Manager Milton Dohoney

unveiled Plan B

to the parking plan, which would lay off 344 employees, eliminate Human Services Funding and close pools and recreation centers, among other changes. In response, mayoral candidate John Cranley proposed his own plan, which would use casino revenue, parking meter revenue and cuts to “non-essential programs” to tame the deficit. Plan B, Plan S and Cranley’s plan all fix the structural deficit in the city’s budget, while the parking plan only fixes the deficit for two years. The parking plan was unanimously

approved

by the Cincinnati Planning Commission Friday, and it appears five council members are ready to give the plan the go-ahead.

Members of Gov. John Kasich’s own party are beginning to

show skepticism

toward the governor’s budget proposal, which would expand the sales tax to apply to more services, increase the oil and gas severance tax and make more Ohioans eligible for Medicaid — mostly at the cost of the federal government. Republicans are likely to propose alternatives before a mid-April vote. In a Quinnipiac University poll, a majority of Ohioans

approved of the Medicaid expansion but not Kasich’s tax plan

. CityBeat covered Kasich’s budget plan in detail

here

.

Police are taking measures to prevent traffic problems at the Horseshoe Casino’s grand opening tonight. Meanwhile, Indiana casinos are

preparing for downturns

as the Horseshoe Casino promises a major alternative to tri-state gamblers. During the soft opening last week, Ohio’s casino regulator found the Horseshoe Casino would have to

fix its security and surveillance

before the grand opening. Previous studies found casinos

bring job growth

at the cost of crime, bankruptcy and even suicide, and a Dayton Daily News report also found the state’s casinos are

falling short of job projections

.

On Friday, the sequester, a series of across-the-board federal budget cuts, kicked in, and it could mean

big funding reductions for Ohio’s schools

. The blunt cuts are largely because Republicans

refuse to negotiate

with President Barack Obama and Democrats — to the point that Republicans

don’t even know

what the president is proposing.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio is asking the state’s Department of Education to

expand its seclusion room rules to apply to charter schools

. Previous reports found seclusion rooms, which were originally intended to hold out-of-control kids until they calm down, have been largely used for convenience by educators, leading to stricter policies from the Ohio Department of Education. But the regulations currently apply only to traditional public schools, not charter schools.

Reminder: On top of putting everyone around you in danger, texting while driving

will now result in a fine up to $150

.

The Cincinnati Zoo has confirmed it has terrible taste in names with its choice for the new four-week-old gorilla:

Gladys Stones

. Still, the zoo does have that

whole environmentally friendly thing going on

. Maybe the pros outweigh the cons.

U.S. researchers are

claiming they have “functionally cured” an HIV-infected infant

after extensive treatments left the virus’s presence in blood at such low levels that it can no longer be detected by standard clinical tests.

Scientists are ostracizing what Popular Science calls the

“world’s sexiest octopus.”

If you can watch BigDog, the four-legged robot,

toss cinder blocks with ease

and not fear the robot apocalypse, you’re not prepared.
Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.