The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dec. 2
More than 125 tax exemptions of various kinds cost Ohio an estimated $9 billion a year — and they tend to grow over time.
That’s why, nearly two years ago, the General Assembly laudably created a joint Tax Expenditure Review Committee to review each of those loopholes at least once every eight years and pass judgment on their validity, cost and any unintended impacts, in order to recommend elimination, modification or retention of each loophole.
So far, given its lack of dedicated staff, the seven-member panel — composed of three members each from the Ohio House and Senate, plus Ohio’s tax commissioner or his designee — is working at a rather slow pace.
The law creating the committee requires the Legislative Service Commission’s staff “to assist the committee.” That’s not the same as having researchers assigned full-time to help out.
So the panel chair, Sen. Scott Oelslager, a Canton Republican, has wisely recommended in the committee’s recent report that the next General Assembly, to be seated in January, “consider hiring additional assistance to aid in the review process.”
The details can be worked out. But the committee could use some staff help — and should get it.
The Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 2
Whatever happened to the solid nugget of common sense: “Actions speak louder than words”?
In today’s Trumpism, that wisdom often seems to be forgotten, and President Donald Trump is a prime offender.
The latest case in point is the dreaded but not unexpected announcement from Detroit that General Motors will close its Lordstown, Ohio, plant — one of its largest in the U.S. — and end production of the Chevy Cruze sedan built there.
Back in July 2017, Trump wooed about 8,000 supporters in a Mahoning Valley rally by first lamenting the loss of the area’s vaunted manufacturing jobs and then promising, “They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move, don’t sell your house.” Just words.
Meanwhile, Ohio’s two U.S. Senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, were doing what they could to try to persuade GM to keep the 1,400 jobs now lost in Lordstown and even invest more in the state.
It is even more critical for Ohio’s government and corporate leaders — since we can’t count on help from the White House — to work with other automotive-related corporations having an Ohio presence to develop effective game plans for strengthening the state’s role in supporting transportation systems of the future.
Empty promises from the president won’t get us there.
The Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 3
George H.W. Bush famously acknowledged that he didn’t have “the vision thing,” but that wasn’t entirely true. He had a vision of public service, of country above all, of how to govern at home and conduct affairs overseas. In office, he was a pragmatist and a problem solver who held to first principles about sound stewardship. He was a conservative in the traditional sense, understanding of change yet careful in response, looking to find or build consensus where he could.
His death on Friday at age 94 has prompted many reminiscences and evaluations of his long and successful political career. That underestimated vision is worth keeping in mind. During his presidency, especially, it served the country well.
He didn’t always succeed. He made his share of mistakes. Still, his vision was right, his approach sorely missing today and well worth emulating.
The Blade, Dec. 3
A new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project serves as a stark reminder of the destruction, both past and present, that has been wrought upon Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan since the turn of the 20th century.
The report found that, by conservative estimates, 480,000 people have been killed by armed conflict in those three countries since 2001. That figure includes nearly 7,000 U.S. military members and more than 240,000 civilians.
What’s more, one in five Americans do not know that the U.S. is still at war in Afghanistan, according to a Rasmussen poll from this summer. Given that the war started almost two decades ago, one can almost be forgiven for having forgotten that the U.S. is still at war. But there is no reason for a military conflict, especially one this violent, to drag on for so long without a clear purpose.
The Senate should do its constitutional duty and withhold further consent. The House should cut off funds. There has been enough killing, and to no avail.