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Linking funds to higher ed grad rate makes sense

December 4, 2012
Salem News

Half of the funding Ohio distributes to state universities will be tied to their success in graduating, not just attracting, students, if a plan by Gov. John Kasich and higher education officials is implemented.

It should be put in place, by state legislators, if necessary. Ohioans simply cannot afford to shovel money into ivory tower institutions that do not find ways to retain the students they attract. And Buckeye State residents cannot afford to continue making enormous tuition and fees payments without reasonable prospects they will pay off in degrees.

Kasich and university presidents unveiled the plan last week. It is part of a package to demand results from public colleges and universities. Again, the program should be put in place as soon as possible.

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Ohio legislators certainly have a duty to ensure taxes are collected fairly and equitably by local and state governments. But in regulating local taxing power, lawmakers should be careful not to hamstring municipal councils and county commissions already struggling to balance budgets.

It appears a bill in the state House of Representatives, aimed at changing the way municipalities handle local income taxes, could do that. Several local officials in East Ohio already have complained it could cost their towns and cities substantial amounts of money.

Reportedly, more than 600 towns and cities throughout the state oppose the House bill - yet there has been no sign legislators may reconsider it.

Taxes ought to be held as low as possible at every level of government. But if Ohio voters don't like local income taxes, they are free to elect new mayors and council members to change them. State lawmakers should recognize that and avoid action that could hurt municipal budgets badly.

 
 

 

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