Morning News and Stuff

Mandel hires political workers, county will raise taxes, city faces privatization or layoffs

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel

Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is

hiring political workers and friends at his job again

. His latest hires are Joe Aquilino, former campaign political director to Mandel’s U.S. Senate campaign, and Jared Borg, former campaign political coordinator. During the 2010 campaign for the state treasurer’s office, Mandel said, “Unlike the current officeholder, I will ensure that my staff is comprised of qualified financial professionals — rather than political cronies and friends — and that investment decisions are based on what is best for Ohioans.” Mandel’s spokesperson defended the hires by touting the treasurer’s accomplishments in office.

With a vote set for tomorrow, it’s still unsure how the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners will

solve the stadium fund deficit

, but it seems like both options require tax increases. Commissioner Todd Portune, the lone Democrat on the board, proposed increasing the sales tax by 0.25 percent. Board President Greg Hartmann, a Republican, presented an alternative plan that reduces the property tax rollback by 50 percent for two years, but he also said he’s not sure how he’ll vote. Commissioner Chris Monzel, a Republican, says he wants to find a plan that doesn’t raise taxes.

Either parking services are privatized or 344 city employees are laid off. That’s how City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr.

framed budget talks to City Council yesterday

. The city has already made drastic cuts since 2000, laying off 802 employees. Dohoney also pushed for repealing the property tax rollback promised as part of the stadium deal in 1996, but City Council does not want to raise taxes in the middle of a slow economy. The fact is

any form of austerity will be painful

, so City Council should be as cautious of spending cuts as tax hikes. A public hearing on the budget will be held Thursday at 6 p.m.

The city of Cincinnati’s plan to buy Tower Place Mall and the adjacent Pogue’s Garage in downtown is

moving forward

. The city offered to buy the mall and garage for $8.5 million in order to spur economic development in the area. The parking garage and half-empty mall are currently in foreclosure.

Cincinnati State is

looking to expand

.

The Horseshoe Casino has begun

its final round of hiring

. The casino is set to open in spring 2013. A Washington Post analysis found casinos bring jobs, but also

crime, bankruptcy and suicide

.

One year later, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

hasn’t followed up on a court order

to compensate flooded landowners.

The State Controlling Board

approved three programs

that will provide transitional housing and other services to the homeless. As part of the initiative, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio will receive $200,000, the Homeless Crisis Response Program will receive $12,680,700 and the Supportive Housing Program will receive $9,807,600 from the Ohio Housing Trust Fund.

Great numbers from November from auto companies could mean more hires.

The U.S. Supreme Court is

delaying action on same-sex marriage

. CityBeat covered gay marriage in Ohio and whether Ohioans are ready to embrace it in a

Nov. 28 cover story

.

A dissolving nanofabric could soon

replace condoms

for protecting against pregnancy and HIV.
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