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City manager proposes budget plan, budget hearings set, redistricting reform in 2014

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The city manager

unveiled his budget plan

to solve the city’s $35 million operating budget deficit yesterday. The plan includes less layoffs than expected — particularly to cops and firefighters — but it proposes an increase to property taxes. The plan also includes a series of other cuts, including to all arts funding and subsidies that go to parades, and new fees. The release for the budget plan says many of the cuts could have been avoided if the city obtained revenue from the proposed

parking plan

, which is currently being held up by a referendum effort and

court challenges

. The operating budget is separate from the streetcar budget, which uses capital funds that can’t be used to balance the operating budget because of limits established in state law.

The budget plan still has to be approved by Mayor Mark Mallory and City Council to become law, and City Council will hear the public’s opinion before a vote at three public hearings: May 16 at the Duke Convention Center, May 20 at College Hill Recreation Center and May 22 at Madisonville Recreation Center. All the hearings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder says he hopes the Constitutional Modernization Commission will

produce a ballot initiative for redistricting reform

in 2014. Politicized redistricting — also known as “gerrymandering” — has been traditionally used by politicians in power to redraw congressional district borders in a way that favors the political party in charge, but reform could change that. Gerrymandering was used by national and state Republicans to blunt losses in the 2012 election, as CityBeat detailed

here

.

As Ohio struggles to expand Medicaid, our more conservative neighbor to the south is

moving forward

. CityBeat covered the Medicaid expansion in Ohio, which the Health Policy Institute of Ohio says would insure nearly half a million people and save millions of dollars by 2022,

here

.

While some Democrats want to attach party labels to Ohio Supreme Court elections, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wants to

do away with party primaries

for judicial elections.

Former University of Cincinnati President Joseph Steger, the second longest-serving president at UC,

died at 76

yesterday.

New York City could soon become the first major city to

let non-citizens vote in local elections

. The legislation would allow non-citizens to vote if they are lawfully present in the United States, have lived in New York City for six months or more on the date of a given election and meet other requirements necessary to vote in New York state.

When one simple question makes a huge difference:

“When Did You Choose to Be Straight?”

Blood may be the key to

seeing how long brain tumor patients have to live

and whether their treatment is working.

A new study found oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill

sickened fish for at least a year

.

Here

is a compilation of adorable animals trying to stay awake.
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