Expresses objections to tax hikes in Salem
To the editor:
The prestigious National Tax Foundation reveals that Ohio taxpayers have gone from some of the least taxed in the late 1970s to some of the most heavily taxed today, climbing 38 places from 45th highest taxed in 1977 to seventh highest taxed in 2008.
Ohio also ranks 47th in the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index, which compares the 50 states among five areas of taxation that impact businesses: corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and property taxes. Neighboring states ranked as follows: Indiana 12th, Pennsylvania 27th, West Virginia 37th, Kentucky 20th and Michigan 17th. Ohio ranks worst in the region.
Clearly, Ohioans shoulder among the highest tax burdens in the nation and, not surprisingly, one of the highest unemployment rates. Gee, ya' think there might be some correlation here?
Of course, our region of Ohio is suffering even more than the rest of the state. With our unemployment rate among the highest in the nation, our rate of home foreclosures go on unabated. Working families wonder how much worse things could get.
So what are we doing about this here in Salem? Well, for starters, we are proposing a 50 percent increase in the city's income tax rate, plus repealing a 40-year tradition of extending to our citizens that work outside of the city an income tax credit, affecting some 1,200 tax filers.
Folks, these tax hikes are not justified on account of some dramatic revenue shortfall. The city's revenues have actually grown quite steadily, surpassing the annual rate of inflation for the past 40 years. Even in this recessionary year, revenues are projected to be almost 5 percent ahead of last year. So, there is no revenue crisis, as has been claimed. But there is a spending crisis. And it needs fixed.
My objection to these tax hikes is not meant to show any disrespect for city safety forces or any other city employees. I happen to think Salem is well served by them, one and all. Yet I do take issue with collective bargaining agreements that have ballooned the city's operating costs in recent years, placing city employee benefit packages in particular wholly out of the norm while starving the city of capital sorely needed for its infrastructure.
A "no" vote to the tax hike and "yes" vote to restore the income tax credit would force the city to more responsibly manage its considerable resources during these difficult economic times. And it would signal that change is needed at City Hall.
Ohio EPA proposal would hurt businesses
To the editor:
I am very concerned about an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would mirror the federal EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases. This so-called "tailoring" rule would dramatically expand the EPA's authority over Ohio businesses. This is an arbitrary rule that isn't based on legislation passed by Congress. Instead, the federal EPA is attempting to usurp legislative authority and impose rules on a huge amount of the U.S. economy. Ohio should not follow the federal government's misguided lead.
I am the president of Butech Bliss in Salem, Ohio, a company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of heavy machinery for the various metal industries. We build rolling mills, extrusion and forging presses, and coil processing equipment. Our company provides more than 200 people with good high paying jobs and benefits. We are extremely involved in our community taking an active role in many different areas. We are the last surviving major mill builder in the United States and depend on a customer base that might shrink or disappear if such legislation is passed. The livelihood of our company and of the team we employ is at risk due to such legislation.
As I see it, the results of such legislation would be higher utility costs and greater competition from foreign companies that aren't regulated to such a degree. From our perspective, higher utility costs could force us to reduce our operations and could price us out of our market. Also, with the expectation that more manufacturing would be forced overseas where there is much less regulation, the worldwide pollution levels could: actually increase.
I hope the Ohio EPA reconsiders its decision in this area and does the right thing for Ohio's business owners and workers.
Praise for Leetonia Schools over cuts
To the editor:
I want to commend the Leetonia School District. I recently attended a meeting for the Leetonia School District. The school district has reduced their budget by $300,000 for the current school year. I thought is was important to make the point that the levy on the ballot is a renewal, no new tax, and to thank the administration and teachers for making the necessary reductions to avoid asking for new money this November.
Physician, med director asks for levy support
To the editor:
In Columbiana County, we are fortunate to have many high quality services to help all of us in times of need. None of us can predict when we may need help dealing with a problem in our lives or in the lives of our loved ones or friends. As a physician and as the medical director of Family Recovery Center, I have seen first-hand how the services supported by the Mental Health and Recovery Services levy have helped the community.
The levy supports a "safety net" for children, teens, adults, and seniors that is there when:
- we encounter emotional, personal, or family problems
- we are grieving or having thoughts of suicide
- we or our children experience unexplained depression, anger, or anxiety
- we are unable to go to work or school because of emotional problems
- we suffer and need help recovering from substance abuse or addiction.
I believe that emotional health and physical health are strongly linked. The levy-supported services provided by the Counseling Center and Family Recovery Center are essential to improving the overall health of the residents of Columbiana County.
Please support the 1.3 mill renewal levy for Mental Health and Recovery Services in Columbiana County on Nov. 2, 2010. This levy will not increase taxes.
KARL GETZINGER, M.D.
Another letter asking for renewal levy backing
To the editor:
I ask for your support for the levy renewal for the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. We have an excellent mental health system in our county, and the levy plays a major part in accomplishing that. The services provided in our county save lives.
One out of every four people in this country lives with a mental illness. This is truly an illness that is non-discriminatory. It can strike anyone, any age, any gender, any financial status, any religious beliefs, any race and at any time. Look around you the people living with mental illness are your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends, people in your church communities and yes, people in your families.
Without services, many people would not survive. The suicide rate has increased over the last couple of years. With treatment, many could have survived their problems. I know this because I am one of the people who lives with mental illness and receives treatment.
Numerous times, I was not sure I would make it. Treatment does work and people do recover. If it had not been for the treatment I have received in this system, I would not be writing this letter and I would not be where I am today having a life that is meaningful. It wasn't always this way and I am forever grateful for living in Columbiana County, where people with mental illness find hope in knowing that we have one of the better mental health systems in the state.
When children can receive mental health services early in their lives, they will not know the pain of living with those problems as an adult. It definitely can make a major change for their futures.
There is an abundance of older citizens living with depression who need services.
As in the rest of our country, there is an epidemic of substance abuse. Our county uses evidence-based practices to help people overcome their addictions.
The levy will not increase taxes - it is a renewal. With the state budget being cut, our county was cut over a million dollars in the last year. There may be more cuts ahead, and that makes this levy renewal even more critical. Our board has been fiscally responsible in the handling of the funds they have received, making them stretch as far as they can. However, fewer funds to our agencies mean a decrease in needed services. More services will be lost with budget cuts in the coming year despite an increase in the number of people needing services.
I cannot stress how much this funding is needed or how important it is for people to support this levy. Without adequate services, people will die.
Treatment does work people do recover. Please continue the caring for people in this county who need these services.
Prosecutor:?Experience critical to serve as judge
To the editor:
For more than 15 years I've prosecuted some of Columbiana County's most dangerous criminals: those who physically and sexually abuse children. These felony cases are always presided over by a Common Pleas judge. The judge's role in these cases is pivotal in ensuring that justice prevails.
County voters will soon choose our next Common Pleas Court judge. This position demands an individual with the knowledge and practical experience to effectively deal with all of the county's most serious criminal matters. The only candidate with such qualifications is East Liverpool Municipal Judge Melissa Byers-Emmerling.
Melissa Byers-Emmerling has been a municipal judge for more than 20 years. Her opponent, Scott Washam, has never been a judge. Prior to becoming a judge, Byers-Emmerling was a felony prosecutor, prosecuting hundreds of serious felonies including rape and homicide. In contrast, Scott Washam has never prosecuted a felony case of any type. Over the course of her judicial career, Judge Byers- Emmerling has presided over more than 135 jury trials. Her opponent has never conducted a jury trial.
Because of these vast differences between the candidates, I am joining retired Judge David Tobin in supporting Municipal Judge Melissa Byers-Emmerling to be our next Common Pleas Court Judge. Experience is clearly the most important issue in this race, and I respectfully urge every voter to consider these facts on Nov. 2.
Salem resident speaks out on any tax hike
To the editor:
I am a resident of Salem. I am also a new father.
Recently I got a job out of town. I had been looking for a long time. Every job I found close to home was a temporary job, so I couldn't get enough time in to collect unemployment. The job I got is not the greatest job in the world, but I am grateful to have it. I need to support my family.
Having a job out of town as opposed to in town is expensive. I need a car, auto insurance, gas. and auto maintenance, right off the top. The taxes that come out of my check are really high. Not much is left for food and housing. The 1 percent tax credit would have made a big difference in helping my family get on its feet.
As I look for housing, I am evaluating the pros and cons of staying here in Salem to raise my family. The increased tax and lack of local jobs are definitely cons.
Is it any wonder the number of residents in the city is decreasing and the number of students enrolled in Salem City Schools is in decline? Is it any wonder that so many homes are sitting empty or not selling? If today's young families can't find jobs and Salem City Hall keeps raising taxes, what kind of future does Salem have to look forward to? How many more elderly residents will face their last days separated from their families because they move elsewhere for jobs? How many grandchildren will never really know their grandparents? How many businesses will want to locate here?
Salem, chose your future. Keep young families here. Vote yes to restore the tax credit and vote no for the 1/2 percent tax increase.
What happened to the Democrats of Salem?
To the editor:
What has happened to the Democrats of Salem, Ohio?
Oct. 14, 2010, I ran for the Second Vice Chairman of the Salem Democrat Committee. I lost to a man who has been a so-called Democrat for about five years.
Most of our so-called party, listen to one lady.
I know, I'm a poor loser, but I'm the best Democrat in Salem, Ohio, and the nation. I've been a Democrat since I first voted. I sell tickets, put up political signs and do my own political contributions.
The man I ran against has no so-called record for doing anything for our party chairman.
I'm very proud of my 35-year-record and experience and elected precinct for over 30 years in the Democrat Party. Thank You for reading my complaint.
GEORGIANA E. BAILEY,
Urges voter support of MHRS levy renewal
To the editor:
As the current chair of the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, I urge all voters to support your MHRS levy renewal on Nov. 2, 2010. The levy supports many treatment and prevention services for residents of our county. Our board supports a local anti-bullying program through our schools. Recently, the national news reported a story about a Rutgers University student who took his life due to the stigma and subsequent bullying he was forced to deal with, but could not. Mental health assistance could have made the difference in this young man's life.
The Columbiana County MHRS Board could utilize more money for broader implementation of this anti-bullying program; however, due to tough economic times, we cannot ask our taxpayers for more money. Through our renewal levy, we are asking voters to approve the same amount the MHRS board has been receiving since 2000.
Mental illnesses are biologically-based disorders. President Kennedy became active working against the stigma toward people with mental illnesses. Through community mental health programs, people with mental illness were able to move from costly confinement in state institutions where they used to be warehoused. Many Columbiana County residents recovering with serious mental illnesses live independently, volunteer in their communities, and maintain employment. Services and supports needed by these individuals to live life as fully as possible and to contribute to their communities are paid for in part by this levy.
Many of us have been directly or indirectly affected by alcoholism and addiction. As people sink deeper into alcohol and drug use, their family members and employers are negatively affected. All of us are potential victims of these diseases. Addicts who steal to support their habits can victimize any of us; anyone traveling our roads can be injured by a driver who is impaired. The good news is that treatment does work, and people DO recover from addictions; however, funding must be available to support treatment.
We ask you to be part of the solution by continuing to support the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and the many services available in our community.
Please vote for the 1.3 mill renewal levy.
Do we really need any more liberals?
To the editor:
Just who is Lee Fisher, anyway?
Some know him as the obscure Ohio Lt. Governor that has presided over the loss of 400,000 jobs in just four years - the time period during which he was the self-anointed "jobs czar" of Ohio. Sound like he has succeeded in creating or killing jobs?
Others know Lee Fisher as the Democrat nominee for the U S Senate seat in Ohio. He's more than just another Democrat, though; he is an avowed Obama liberalway out of the political mainstream and fully committed to Obama's big spending, high taxing and over-regulating agenda for America. Do we really need any more liberals like this in Washington? While he decries unfair trade legislation that he believes is responsible for sending "thousands of manufacturing jobs off seas," Lee Fisher supports job-killing proposals like "cap and trade," which would cause energy costs to sky-rocket, making US produced goods all the more uncompetitive.
As a darling of Big Labor, Lee Fisher strongly supports "card check" legislation, which would force unions upon small and mid-sized companies without granting the employees a right to secret ballot vote. Does anybody really think this would make U S companies more competitive?
Bottom line, Lee Fisher is so far to the left that he couldn't even get his own hometown newspaper, itself one of the most liberal in Ohio, to endorse him. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, rather, endorsed Fisher's opponent, Rob Portman.
Why did The Cleveland Plain Dealer endorse a conservative Republican candidate from Cincinnati for the Ohio U S Senate seat? Simply put: "It is Portman," says the Plain Dealer, "that has the best compass on the needs of this state's economic agenda and he is better prepared to represent the interests of Ohio as well as tackle the weighty national issues that will come before the U S Senate."
Let's just hope Portman can put us over the top this November so that we can put a stop to the liberals now in control of the U S Senateand so that we can then begin to take back our country. Folks it's later than you think.