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Friends of Richard Dell'Aquila,
661 E. Pleasant Valley Rd.,
Seven Hills, OH 44131
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Friends of Richard Dell'Aquila,
Judy Dell'Aquila, Treasurer
661 E. Pleasant Valley Rd.,
Seven Hills, OH 44131
"Most of the major issues Ohioans face today are interrelated and connected to each other. So working on any one issue can help to improve all the others. Meeting those challenges requires that all of us learn again how to speak with each other without yelling, so we can hear above the noise and find ways to work together. Here are a few of those interconnected challenges in Education, Safety, the Environment, the Economy, and Diversity. I'm sure you can think of more."--Rick Dell'Aquila
"Energy Security is National Security"
With all due respect to everyone, it is unproductive to debate who is (or who is not), responsible for the country's current economic ills. The critical thing to consider is that hard working Americans are suffering in this economy and desperately need solutions.
The practically unprecedented increases in the cost of everything, especially related to energy costs, is becoming a national security issue. Much of the problem stems from the difficulties with energy production and supply chain bottlenecks. We are now being told to expect "rolling blackouts" in the summer months. All this is unacceptable in the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nation on the planet.
Inflation hits hardest on Americans who can least afford it. The federal government has announced that this past May, consumer prices increased at a rate of 8.6% year-over-year, which is the worst rate in over 40 years. Gasoline, food and everything else costs more and our hard-earned dollars buy less.
The cost of even basic necessities is affected by the increased cost of energy, which went up 4% in just the month of May. There must be more bipartisan effort to help struggling families by reversing inflationary trends and cutting costs. This is primary a federal issue. The administration must be encouraged to take all prudent measures to reduce energy costs and thereby help to ease the rate of inflation.
The first step should be to increase our domestic oil production and refining capacity. Then, more energy production from all other sources at home, including wind, hydro, nuclear, and solar, will ease the financial burden on struggling American citizens.
OHIO'S NEW CCW LAW
A cause for concern among Law Enforcement Officers
Having served as Mayor and our city's Director of Public Safety for eight years, the Law Enforcement Officers I worked with and others I have met are concerned about the dangers imposed by Ohio's new permitless concealed carry law which became effective on June 13, 2022. LEO personnel are generally strong supporters of the Second Amendment, but are wary of the new risks they will be facing from untrained armed individuals.
Under the new law for example, at traffic stops the driver will no longer be required to inform the officer that they are armed unless asked first. Anyone not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm will be permitted to concealed carry with no training, thereby increasing the risk of accidental shootings, or even losing control of the weapon to unauthorized persons.
Advocates in support of permitless carry say that other states implementing similar changes have not experienced significant increases in gun violence, road rage incidents and the like. However, the research is still relatively new and is disputed by both proponents and opponents of the legislation, depending on their positions. Now we find that Ohio has even authorized armed teachers in the classroom with little training.
Hopefully, responsible gun owners will continue to obtain training on the proper handling of firearms as well as the legal responsibilities before making a potentially life and death decision to carry a concealed weapon in public places. The state should do more to encourage continued basic firearms training, especially by new gun owners.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUND
"Less is Not More"
There have been several modifications to Ohio's “Local Government Fund” since the state first adopted a sales tax in 1935. The LGF is a percentage of the total sales tax collected by the state, which is then earmarked for use by counties and municipalities to be deposited in the local government's General Fund to help pay for any lawful purpose. In fact, part of the rationale for creating the state sales tax was that some of the revenue collected was to be used to assist cash-strapped local communities.
That fund has been drastically reduced by the state over the years and only partially restored since then. The fact that local communities are receiving less LGF revenue at a time of higher costs and inflationary pressures means that they are less financially able to provide services, infrastructure, equipment, training and personnel for the benefit and safety of their residents. Instead, the state is collecting and retaining tax revenue that once went to support those local community costs. The shortfall is placed on the shoulders of those local communities, while they are simultaneously required to do more with less money.
Over the years, we have found that state revenue sharing with local governments has helped local communities pay for public safety, equipment and and infrastructure. Our state legislature must do more to restore the LGF and better assist local governments meet their financial needs through increasing LGF support as originally intended, particularly in these economically challenging times.
Senior and disabled homeowners need relief from increasing property taxes.
At least every three years in Ohio the county assesses our home's assumed market value, then multiplies that value by a property tax rate to determine our property tax. Each municipality sets the tax rate or "mill levy." ( a mill is $1 per $1,000 of assessed value ).
Counties, cities and school districts all have authority to raise property taxes on individual homes in their boundaries. Once they decide the amount they want to raise, they divide that figure by the total valuation of all assessed property to find the mill levy needed to raise the revenue goal.
The issue is that the hot real estate market and recent inflationary pressures have led to skyrocketing property assessments, making it harder for seniors, the disabled, and low-income homeowners to pay ever-increasing real estate taxes and stay in their homes. Ohio has adopted a homestead tax exemption that allows disabled Ohioans and low-income seniors 65 or older some small relief from escalating property taxes. Our population over 60 will surpass 25% by 2030, and it is time to increase the homestead exemption to assist these homeowners to stay in their homes.
Ohio currently allows low-income senior and disabled homeowners to reduce their home's market value for taxing purposes by exempting the first $25,000 from property taxation. Disabled veterans can exempt up to $50,000. There is also a very low income test for homeowners to qualify. But as prices increase each year, the value of the homestead exemption goes down. The House has considered measures to increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $31,200 of assessed valuation and slightly raise the maximum annual income for a homeowner to qualify, or even to place a cap on tax hikes for senior owners.
These are small, but good, beginnings. Double digit price increases require that more must be done to assist homeowners to stay in their homes. Also, Ohio's system of funding schools with property taxes has been declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. But as long as schools are permitted to tax real property, it is fair and reasonable to at least provide the elderly and disabled real relief from increasing property taxes.
One solution could be to tie the homestead exemption annually to the consumer price index, or to simply raise the exempted amount to a more meaningful fixed figure, for example $50,000 (higher for disabled veterans), of which the first half of the exemption could apply to reduce all property taxes including schools, and the second half would apply only to non-school taxes. This would ease the burden on struggling homeowners, while assuring the schools of continuing to receive some property taxes from exempted properties while providing qualifying homeowners the assurance that a larger percentage of their property taxes are paying for local government services and infrastructure. The bottom line is that much more must be done to help deliver real relief to these struggling homeowners.
Education is the foundation for good paying jobs and a strong economy.
Not everyone desires a college education and there are many well-paying technical jobs that go unfilled due to the need for training in the required job skills. In the 134th General Assembly, the Ohio House of Representatives began to consider H.B. 303, a measure to encourage career-technical education. The idea is to establish financial incentives for Ohio businesses to provide work-based learning experiences for students enrolled in an approved career technical program. Employers would be motivated to participate by certain tax incentives and the possibility of retaining employees they have already trained in their particular careers. This would be similar to the public/private apprenticeship programs I have suggested, along with a more expansive program that would also include high-school graduates, GED holders, and other adults.