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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Compromise will be needed for state budget

Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State Address on Tuesday now serves as the blueprint for many policies in Ohio during the next two years.

After hearing from several local legislators and politicians this past week it appears to me that few are ready to fully endorse the governor’s budget plan.

However, it does contain individual proposals that both sides of the political aisle like but that neither seem to agree on together.

What that likely means is after the debate process the budget could look much different than what Kasich proposed.

Compromise will be necessary, and unlike the federal government, the state must operate with a balanced budget as of July 1.

Some Republican legislators have a hard time coming to grips with Kasich’s wish to expand Medicaid coverage and they might not vote for a budget if that is included. Democrats are generally pleased by the proposed expansion, but most oppose the bulk of the rest of the budget.

As part of the new federal health care law, which many in the GOP still fundamentally oppose, extending who can be cared for through Medicaid up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level is an option for states to accept with the federal government paying 100 percent of that cost for the first three years and gradually dropping down to 90 percent funding.

When it comes to tax reform, the GOP and Democrats again differ. Republicans favor an income tax reduction, lowering the state’s sales tax rate and the expansion of services that would be subject to sales tax.

Democrats argue the tax policy changes would help wealthy taxpayers more and hurt lower income residents who would spend a greater percentage of their income on services like haircuts, sporting events, and funeral services.

Republicans argue the proposals are a more fair way to tax because it would lower the state’s sales tax rate and provide residents and business owners with income tax relief.

Unless some things change, this budget might not follow party lines. It’s possible that neither side will be completely happy with what transpires, but the fact that Democrats and Republicans might have to work more closely together in Columbus would be a nice change.

Joyce joins Auto Industry Pension Task Force

U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Russell Township, announced he has joined the Auto Industry Pension Task Force.

The Congressional Auto Industry Pension Task Force, co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, will serve as an informal group of members dedicated to issues related to the termination of Delphi Salaried Retiree pensions and educating other members on the subject.

Picked up petitions

Recently taking out petitions with the Lake County Elections Board are Jeff Black for Willoughby Council at large; Laura DePledge for Eastlake Council at large; Larry Luciano for Willoughby-Eastlake School Board; Ronald P. Ely for Wickliffe Council Ward 3; Duane H. Frager for Madison Village Council; Chuck Klco for Leroy Township trustee; and Teresa Wagoner, MaryAnn Guy-Froebe and Timothy Rillahan for Madison Township trustee.


n Re-election kickoff party for Mentor Municipal Court Judge John Trebets, 5 to 8 p.m. March 7 at Holiday Inn Express LaMalfa Centre in Mentor. See Ed or Cindy Hughes.

n Re-election kickoff for Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 21 at Patrician Party, Eastlake. See Ted or Patricia Andrzejewski.

n Lake County Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish hosts St. Patrick’s Day Celebration 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 12 at LaMalfa Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites. See Kathie Aufuldish-Freshour or Ernie Koenig.

n Concord Township Trustees Paul Malchesky and Christopher Galloway re-election fundraiser is rescheduled to 5 to 7 p.m. April 1 at Harry Buffalo in Painesville Township. See Malchesky, Galloway or Connie Luhta.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newheraldjah

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