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Over the summer of 2010 I began to ask myself, "what do you do if two of our Rights, as citizens of these United States, are diametrically opposed?" I came to the only viable conclusion: you compromise. Our great Nation works when there is compromise.

Right now most of you will agree with me that our political system is broken. What we currently have is: the politics of destruction; special interest groups who have the power and money to dictate policy; politicians who must spend their time raising money for the next election instead of doing the People's business; and, there are those who are so concerned about getting re-elected they cede their responsibilities to the citizenry to those groups making the loudest noises and the greatest threats.

The attacks that we were inundated with during the this election cycle belittled the democratic process. Shame on everyone involved. And, shame on the political obstructionists who are more interested in gaining and maintaining power than doing the people’s business. During these very difficult times all of us should be supporting our President. The challenge for all of us is, how do we improve upon this imperfect union that we call the United States of America? One thing I know for is not by dividing us.

I can remember when I was sixteen years old there was a day when my father called out to me, "Jackie, come quickly. You have to hear this. It's Winston Churchill. Come listen." I raced to the radio and for the first time heard a recording of Churchill's speech to a Nation standing alone against the greatest evil the world has ever known: "...we shall defend our island no matter what the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; and we shall not surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until in God's good time, the New World, with all it's power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of The Old."

That day my hero was born. Where are our heroes today? jkt

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Budget Straight Talk

Last Friday (October 8th) I participated in the Franklin County Cosortium for Good Government's Candidates Forum at the Jewish Center. As it is for everyone during these difficult times, the state budget deficit was of concern to attendees. Unlike my opponents, I told the people what no one wants to admit to, we are going to have to raise taxes to get out of the hole we are in. The question for all of us is, how are we going to do it? We should put everything on the table and look for a permanent solution, not quick fixes:

1.)You cannot solve the budget deficit without tackling State employee wages and benefits. They are outpacing private industry by an ever-widening margin. Contrary to a widely held notion, the extra government (employee) benefits aren't compensation for lower pay.
2.)Raise State employee retirement age.
3.)Reduce various business tax breaks and close tax loopholes.
4.)Cut government waste.
5.)Levy the sales tax at a higher rate on luxury items.
6.)Review tax exemptions for certain businesses.
7.)Add new income tax brackets at the upper income level.
8.)We should not attempt to solve the budget crisis by increasing taxes on those who can least afford it, nor should we cut programs for those in need.
9.)We have ceded our moral authority by relying on what I call the "addiction" taxes on cigarettes, liquor, and, soon on gambling to balance the budget. Where is the incentive to help cure the addiction if we rely on the revenue to balance the budget?

According to Richard G. Sheridan, Financial Consultant, The Center for Community Solutions,"The state's problems are not only a result of the bad national and state economic conditions. It is also the result of actions taken by the state in 2005, to reduce the rate of the state's individual income tax by 21%, eliminate the corporate income tax and tangible personal property tax for the general businesses and telecommunications companies and enact a new commercial activity tax, the overall result of which was to reduce taxes on certain businesses by an average of 50%."

A cautionary note: Overruling precedent on the First Amendment rights of corporations, the Conservative Justices on the Supreme Court recently ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. Dissenting, Justice Stevens said the majority on the Court had "committed a grave error in treating corporate speech the same as that of human beings". There is a reason that the Chamber of Commerce is contributing millions to promote the pro-business candidates in this election. I guarantee that it is not for the benefit of the people.

Lastly, however we balance the budget we must ensure that the money will be there to invest in the future of Ohio. I support free education all the way through college for our children, because that makes us competitive with the rest of the world; I support high-speed train systems and metro rail systems because our roads will continue to become more congested and gas prices will continue to rise; I support investment in innovative new companies that will grow and provide jobs for the future; I support practices that will protect the environment, because that is what sustains us.