In the January issue of The Becker Report, I described my four trips to Washington DC for the Right to Life march. I described one of my trips as follows:
"The 2003 trip was an upgrade. One of my best friends owns an airplane. The flight home got a little exciting when snow started blowing into the cabin area as we were flying over the mountains. (I think I kissed the ground when we landed at Lunken Airport.)"
I missed one of the most exciting events of the flight home. The co-pilot was continuously shining a flashlight out the window examining the wings for ice buildup. I inquired about what would happen if ice were to buildup on the wings while flying over the mountains? I was told that they would immediately begin to look for a place to land because "the plane was going down one way or another." I also learned a new expression: "It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air rather than in the air wishing you were on the ground." That's the reason I kissed the ground when we landed at Lunken Airport.
Good Cop, Bad Cop: Although I have great respect for the governor, it has been suggested that he may be playing good cop, bad cop with the General Assembly for political reasons. If that is true, I am happy to play the bad cop.
When I ran for the General Assembly, part of my platform included lower taxes and limited government. The governor's budget does include a net tax decrease. However, his 18.8 percent expansion of Medicaid in the first year, and other spending increases, are the antithesis of limited government. Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, the governor's budget is a non sequitur.
A few ideas to address Health Care
1) All health care providers shall have immunity from prosecution for malpractice for indigent care. This will encourage more providers to volunteer their services to the poor and reduce their risk (cost) of doing so.
2) Encourage employers to fund portable Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for employees rather than traditional group coverage. This will encourage people to minimize usage and shop around for pricing. HSAs are not "use it or lose it." The money must be used for health care or retained for retirement. If health care were market based, competition would force down pricing making it more affordable to everybody.
3) Modify the "Good Samaritan law" that allows anybody to go to any emergency room for any reason for "free" health care. Select one hospital in every major metropolitan area to be designated for indigent care. (In Cincinnati, let's say that it would be University Hospital in Clifton.) Our long-time national policy of universal health care would remain. Medicaid would pay the cost. The designated hospitals would be largely staffed by interns, volunteers, students, trainees, etc. All hospital personnel would have immunity from malpractice litigation. All other area (suburban) hospitals would only accept indigents with life threatening conditions. Once stable, indigents would be transferred to the designated hospital. With this proposal: 1) everybody continues to get care without regard to ability to pay. 2) Costs are controlled. 3) Suburban hospitals are freed of the burden of providing indigent care and then cost shifting to the rest of us. It's a win-win for everybody (except the lawyers).
Ohio House of Representatives
Governor Kasich submitted his budget proposal to the Ohio House. Most of the debate and dissection will occur in the Finance Committee. I am not on that committee. However, I've reviewed the proposal and can sum up my receptivity with three words: Dead-on-Arrival.
1) Medicaid expansion is a deal breaker. This is a hill that I'm willing to die on. I will fight Medicaid expansion with every fiber of my being!
2) Spending is far too high. The budget proposes a 10.5 percent General Revenue Fund (GRF) increase in the first year and another 6.8 percent in the following year. The voters of Clermont County did not send me to Columbus to spend more of their money. Ideally, I'd like to cut spending. At a minimum, I'd hope that we could keep spending to within the inflation rate.
3) The severance tax is slated to increase. No Fracking Way! The exploration, production, and distribution of oil and gas in Ohio is not only good for the economy, it is also a matter of national security. This growing industry should not be discouraged.
4) The sales tax expansion is particularly troublesome for Southwestern Ohio. We are only a bridge away from a very large metropolitan area in Northern Kentucky. Many companies would be forced to collect and remit sales taxes for the first time. That would increase their administrative and accounting costs. Also, many Clermont County businesses would suddenly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage with Northern Kentucky companies by a factor of 5.8 percent. That would impact sales and send business and businesses south (literally). As an aside, I'd be willing to entertain the idea of sales tax or CAT expansion provided that it was in the context of abolishing the income tax. Unfortunately, that is not the proposal.
The Good: The governor's tax proposal is an interesting mix of cuts and increases. On balance, taxes would be reduced by $240 million in FY 2014, reduced by $644 million in FY 2015, and reduced $487 million in FY 2016. amongst other goodies, the state income tax would be reduced by 20 percent over three years.
Also, the state sales tax would be reduced from 5.5 percent to 5.0 percent. The Clermont County sales tax would be reduced from 1.0 percent to 0.8 percent. Therefore, the retail sales tax in Clermont County would drop from 6.5 percent to 5.8 percent.
The Bad: Governor Kasich is proposing to increase the severance tax on oil and gas extraction to $45 million in FY 2014, $155 million in FY 2015, and $305 million in FY 2016. Additionally, the dramatic expansion of the sales tax to services would be a shock to the system.
The Ugly: Spending continues to be the problem. The proposed Medicaid portion of GRF spending is a whopping 18.8 percent increase in FY 2014 and another 11.4 percent in 2015. That proposal would make Medicaid greater than 54 percent of the GRF. (It is important to note that 64 percent of those Medicaid dollars are federal. Regardless, it comes out of your (or your children's) pocket either way.)
K -12 education is proposed to be nearly 24 percent of the GRF and is state-only funding. The proposal is for a 5.7 percent increase in FY 2014 and 3.0 percent in FY 2015. These numbers far exceed the inflation rate adjusted for changes in population. I had hoped that the governor would have submitted a much more fiscally restrained budget.
Fair and Balanced: Fairness is another issue that concerns me. One of my school districts (Clermont Northeastern) is slated to get no increase in funding. They are classified as a "wealthy" school district. Huh? As I drive through the CNE area, I don't see expensive cars and new high-end housing developments. I see many acres of farm land and old farm houses. Additionally, I see old school buildings that are under maintained. It appears that the governor's budget gives something to many. Why is CNE being left behind? It has become clear to me that the school funding formula must use median income as a major component rather than property values. Please help me to understand how the value of farmland or commercial properties within a school district translates into a resident's ability to fund local school levies? The wherewithal to pay taxes is based on cash flow, not the value of shopping malls or farm land.
I have a Bridge to Sell You: On the topic of fairness, let's talk about the Brent Spence Bridge. If you drive from Canada to Florida, how many toll bridges or toll roads would you travel? It is my experience from traveling throughout this country that the only toll bridges are the ones that cross unusually large spans such as the Mackinac Bridge connecting Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Ohio River is in no way in that category. How did our federal government so quickly and easily come up with $60 billion for storm damage, caused by Hurricane Sandy, in the New England area but can't find $2.5 billion to connect the northern and southern half of the country?
40 Years of Legalized Killing--What Now? (7 minutes)
Gov. Kasich: Ohio's Jobs Budget 2.0 (6+ minutes)
The Greatest Play In Baseball (4 minutes)
3801 Lancaster - Shocking Abortion Documentary (21 minutes)
Grace Pfister - Come Home (4+ minutes)
When Does Life Begin? (3+ minutes)
Should Marriage be Changed to Promote Same-Sex Couples? (5 minutes)
February 28, 2013
Clermont County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Eastgate Holiday Inn featuring Congressman Jim Jordan for $50
March 1, 2013
Government Strategy Group's First Friday Luncheon
March 5, 2013
Clermont County Tea Party at the Eastgate Holiday Inn at 7pm
March 11, 2013
Hamilton County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Duke Energy Center featuring Governor Kasich
March 19, 2013
Joint fundraiser for John Becker, Ron Hood, and Ron Maag at the Athletic Club in Columbus from 5 - 7pm
March 19, 2013
Scioto County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Friends Center in Portsmouth
March 19, 2013
Lawrence County Lincoln Day Dinner
April 1, 2013
Union Twp (Clermont County) Republican Central Committee at the Civic Center at 7pm
April 2, 2013
Clermont County Tea Party at the Eastgate Holiday Inn at 7pm
Becker for State Representative
Iíve raised $54,000 and expanded my donor base to over 370 people in six different states! Donation size has ranged from $1 to $1,000 and has averaged $81. You could donate for FREE! You may know that a $50 per taxpayer dollar-for-dollar tax CREDIT (It is $100 on a joint return.) is available every year. The "Ohio political contributions credit" is on line 55 of your Ohio IT 1040. Simply claim it on your state of Ohio tax return and get your money back. Contributions to candidates for State Representative (and other "state offices") qualify for this credit. That is why it will cost you nothing. Iím Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Limited Government and Lower Taxes. Please see the following brief videos:
Introduction (38 seconds)
Second Amendment (36 seconds)
Taxes (49 seconds)
Energy (55 seconds)
Pro-Life (42 seconds)
Creation Science and Evolution (42 seconds.)
State Government Spending (45 seconds)
Donate (50 seconds)
State Government (37 seconds)
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Pro-Life | Pro-Gun | Limited Government | Lower Taxes