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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, June 8, 2013

Kasich still aims for state budget tax cut deal

It appears that Gov. John Kasich has not given up on the idea to provide Ohio residents an income tax cut.
An emerging proposal aims to increase the tax on oil and gas drilling and send a quarter of the raised revenue back to the state’s Appalachia area, according to various media reports.

The new plan would increase the severance tax to 4.5 percent and send 25 percent of that money to 33 Appalachian counties, where the bulk of the drilling occurs, The Associated Press reported.

That could mean the remaining 75 percent would provide $1.1 billion in income tax cuts during the next five years and $370 million for the Appalachian region.

The Ohio Senate approved its version of the state budget this week, and Kasich’s plan was not included.

However, a conference committee that will hammer out a version between what the Ohio House of Representatives passed earlier and what the Ohio Senate passed Thursday. That version would be sent to the governor and must be signed by Kasich before July 1.

The oil and gas drilling tax increase proposal might be a tough sell, especially in the Ohio House, where Republican members have not been exactly keen on the idea even with an accompanying income tax reduction.

When it comes to a potential expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, something also wanted by Kasich, a plan was not included in either the Ohio House or Senate version.

However, legislative study committees have been established to try to work on a plan potentially before the end of the year.

Lake County Probate Court bench

Shortly after Lake County Probate Court Judge Ted Klammer died in March, Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Tim Grendell was assigned by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to assist with Lake County Probate Court proceedings through Sept. 20.

So far, Grendell hasn’t been needed to sit in, but the appointment allows Grendell to assist retired Stark County Probate Court Judge R.R. Denny Clunk, who had been appointed by O’Connor for a three-month assignment to the Lake County Probate Court bench.

Sitting judges of the county Common Pleas Court also have helped to cover the probate court docket until a judge is appointed by Kasich.

From what I’m told four names have been sent by the Lake County Republican Party to Columbus for the governor to consider: Geauga County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Bartolotta; Lake County Probate Court Magistrate Lora Lynne Krider; Lake County Assistant Prosecutor John O’Donnell; and Jim O’Leary, a Painesville Township attorney.

It might be another month or so before Kasich makes an appointment.

Ohio Senate District 25 update

Former state Rep. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, announced he will run for Ohio Senate District 25, which consists of Eastlake, Fairport Harbor, Grand River, Lakeline, Mentor Ward 4, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Painesville, parts of Painesville Township, Timberlake, Wickliffe, Willoughby and Willowick in Lake County, plus Euclid, Richmond Heights and other eastern Cuyahoga County communities.

State Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, represents the district. She is eligible to seek re-election, but is considering running for Ohio Secretary of State, although she has not announced her intentions. I would say look for something soon, now that the Ohio Senate has passed a state budget bill.

Former state Rep. Ed Jerse, D-Euclid, also is considering running for the Ohio Senate District 25 seat, but has not made an announcement on his plans.

Portman office hours

Staff for U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will hold office hours in Lake County from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The location will be at the fifth floor of the county administration building, 105 Main St. in Painesville. No appointments are necessary.


n Willoughby Hills Councilwoman Nancy Fellows hosts Flag Day Family Picnic from 6 to 8 p.m. June 14 at Campbell Park in Willoughby Hills. See Nancy or Dale Fellows.

n John Plecnik, candidate for Willoughby Hills Council, Slovenian Style Dinner from 5:30 to 8 p.m. June 12 at Willoughby Hills Community Center. See Plecnik or Tony Manfredi.

n Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski, ninth annual golf outing, 8:30 a.m. shotgun start July 19 at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Wickliffe. See Andrzejewski.

John Arthur Hutchison

Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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