Morning News and Stuff

Parking plan on hold, mall renovations to go ahead, Kasich's sales tax plan under fire

Making cash, spending cash
Making cash, spending cash

Cincinnati’s plan to lease parking assets to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority

remains on hold

as a lawsuit arguing the law should be subject to referendum works through the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The legal dispute is focused on City Council’s use of the emergency clause, which eliminates a 30-day waiting period on implementing laws and takes away the possibility of a referendum. Emergency clauses are routinely deployed in City Council, but opponents of the parking plan say that doesn’t make them right.

Whether the parking deal does go through or not, the Tower Place Mall renovations

will be carried out

. The city originally included the renovations as part of the plan, but Meg Olberding, city spokesperson, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that the city is planning on selling the the property to a subsidiary of JDL Warm Construction for an undisclosed sum, and the company will then pay an estimated $5 million for the redevelopment.

Gov. John Kasich’s plan to expand the sales tax to fund tax cuts is being

heavily criticized

by some members of the business community, but Rep. Ron Amstutz, chairman of the Ohio House Finance & Appropriations Committee, says he is looking into ways to save the proposal. Kasich’s plan would expand the application of the sales tax to include more services, including cable TV and admission to sport events, but it would lower the sales tax rate from 5.5 percent to 5 percent and carry out 20-percent across-the-board income tax cuts. CityBeat wrote about Kasich’s budget proposal in further detail

here

.

As part of Kasich’s education plans, the state’s school voucher program is

expanding

to help students meet a Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which requires third-graders pass a test in reading proficiency before they can move onto fourth grade. Supporters argue the voucher program provides more choice and control for parents, but opponents say the state should not be paying for private educations. A previous Policy Matters Ohio report found expanded school choice through more vouchers can have

negative effects on education

, including worse results for students and teachers.

State Auditor Dave Yost is pushing for a full audit of JobsOhio, the publicly funded private, nonprofit agency, but Republican state legislators are

joining Kasich

in opposition. The opposing Republicans say the state auditor can track any public funds used for JobsOhio, but they say the agency is allowed to keep its private funds under wraps. Kasich says he plans to replace the Ohio Department of Development, which can be fully audited by the state auditor at any time, with JobsOhio.

The Ohio Department of Education

apparently knew or should have known

of ongoing data scrubbing in schools as early as 2008, according to The Toledo Blade . Emails acquired by The Blade show officials analyzed and discussed data reports that year after media reports detailed how urban districts excluded thousands of test scores on state report cards.

Supporters of the Anna Louise Inn

gathered Friday

in celebration of International Women’s Day and to stand against Western & Southern’s repeated efforts to run the Inn out of the neighborhood.

The U.S. Census Bureau says Cincinnati commutes are

much shorter than the national average

, with only 2.9 percent of Cincinnatians spending more than 60 minutes one-way during their commute, as compared to the 8.1 percent national average.

The Cincinnati Enquirer

unveiled its new tabloid format

today. Ben Kaufman says it looks nice and arrived on time.

The Killers are

coming to the Horseshoe Casino

.

A new study says results from fMRI scans are

unintentionally distorted and inaccurate

— to the point that some studies on the human brain that use fMRI results may be seriously questionable.
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