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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Harris’

Ted Strickland on his Slow-Train: Young Adults Embrace 19th Century Change

February 24th, 2010 Matt Comments off

From Jonathan Riskind in The Dispatch:

Gov. Ted Strickland said he understands that Republican critics of his plan for passenger rail service in Ohio have a “legitimate need for more information.”

But the Ohio Democrat said he hopes Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, will accept the explanation that using $400 million in federal stimulus money to help launch rail service between Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton achieves a number of worthwhile purposes – most of all positioning Ohio for the future.

In Washington yesterday for a National Governors Association meeting, Strickland said he will respond to the letter Harris wrote him expressing reservations about the rail plan.

While the money won’t immediately lead to high-speed service, it is a crucial first step in that direction, and it will create many jobs and enhance the state’s freight rail system, Strickland said.

There’s a reason passenger rail in Ohio is popular with young adults: “They understand that for a state or a city to move forward there has got to be a willingness to embrace change,” Strickland said.

Well at least he is being honest- Traveling across Ohio at 39 mph with inconvenient boarding schedules is certainly a CHANGE from driving across Ohio at 70 MPH.

I also suppose these young adults are also hoping for more horse-drawn carriages and river boats… but who knows if they are ready for high-tech telegraph wires yet.

But if this project isn’t really about building something useful but is instead about “creating jobs,” then Strickland should require all dirt digging in the construction of this 3c train track (to paraphrase Milton Friedman) should happen with spoons instead of shovels and cranes. That would REALLY boost job creation.

The Dispatch’s comments section for this article is hilarious.

Sen. Bill Harris Derails Ted Strickland’s 39MPH Slow-Train?

February 18th, 2010 Matt View Comments

Big news from Columbus Business First:

The Republican offensive on the state’s plans to use $400 million in federal stimulus funding to develop a trans-Ohio passenger train line has left the station.

Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland, in a letter sent to Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland lobbed a host of questions on the proposed 3-C rail system that was awarded $400 million from Congress’ stimulus program last month. Harris wrote he’s seeking answers on behalf of the Republican members of the state Controlling Board, the state body that holds the key to unlocking the funding.[...]

Columbus Business First reported Feb. 12 that approval of the federal stimulus funding will require the yes vote of at least one Republican member of the Controlling Board, on which four Democrats and three Republicans sit. Harris told Business First Republicans inserted a provision in the 2009 state transportation bill requiring a super-majority of five votes for any capital spending on passenger rail to give the GOP leverage.

“Based on what I have learned thus far, I am not convinced that the proposed 3-C rail project put forth by your administration is the best use of our tax dollars,” Harris wrote to Strickland. “I am concerned that considering the tenuous structure of our state budget, Ohio does not have adequate resources to get the 3-C corridor up and running (even with $400 million from the federal government), that we will be unable to afford the cost of operating this service once it is restored, and that the speed and schedule of the trains as presented to date, virtually guarantee that few Ohioans will ride, which will require even greater taxpayer subsidies.”

Here is the full letter:

Marc Kovac posted video of Sen. Harris answering questions about this here.

Even with Amtrack’s obvious bias, they estimate that it would cost Ohio taxpayers at least $17 million/year. Which of course means you can probably multiply that number by 4 or 5 times to get the real number.

Sen. Harris’ questions are simply devastating. Harris wasn’t the Republican Party’s best friend on the state budget, but he deserves praise for this.

I still can’t stop watching this hilariously awkward “Cheerleaders for Failure” video from Marc Kovac (posted Feb. 9), so here it is again. Chooooo-choooooooooo!:

Strickland Handpicks Donors Companies for Third Frontier Grants, Republicans Like Campaign Cash Too

February 2nd, 2010 Matt Comments off

Move along folks… nothing to see here:

A panel controlled by the governor has hand-picked contenders in the latest round of bidding for a pair of high-tech Third Frontier venture funds, breaking with past practice that based awards solely on merit.

The nine-member Ohio Third Frontier Commission opted for the first time to limit eligibility for its two entrepreneurial funds in response to tough economic conditions, said executive director Norm Chagnon. Grants for those funds will go only to business entities that have a track record with the venture capital program, including several tied to generous political donors.

And while are Democrats so anxious to renew the Third Frontier, while Republicans are eager go along with a slightly less porky version? Because the free flow of grants and low-interest loans from the state = campaign cash. Cha-ching!:

A review by The Associated Press found lobbyists, executives and directors for the chosen entities and their spouses have given at least $220,000 to Ohio political campaigns in recent years. They have supported both Democratic and Republican state leaders who control the future of the program.

A joint committee of the state House and Senate is scheduled Tuesday to decide how much voters should be asked to pump into the successful initiative, one of the few bright lights on Ohio’s job creation horizon.

Gov. Ted Strickland initially proposed $1 billion. That figure was pared back to $950 million by the Ohio House and to $500 million by the Ohio Senate, and the two chambers must now compromise.

Campaign filings show that House Speaker Armond Budish collected more than $13,000 from high tech representatives as the debate raged last month.

JumpStart executives, for example, have contributed nearly $23,000 to Strickland and other Democrats. JumpStart director Ken Semelsberger, a senior Eaton Corp. vice president, has given almost $26,000 to Republicans.

Jamie Ireland, a managing director at Early Stage Partners, has given at least $23,000 to Ohio political campaigns, including $9,200 to Strickland, $8,600 to state Sen. and former House Speaker Jon Husted, $3,000 to Budish, and $2,500 to Senate President Bill Harris.

The Mercurio family affiliated with the Entrepreneurs Fund has given $78,000 mostly to Republicans, including $10,000 to Husted.

One of the firms Strickland made the exemption for was for BioEnterprise, who Brian Hicks lobbies for. Hicks, a convicted criminal, was also Gov. Taft’s Chief of Staff and helped create the Third Frontier.

Every pick-nose reporter and columnist in Ohio will repeat the lie that the Third Frontier created 41,000 jobs, while not mentioning the fact that wealth must be confiscated and jobs destroyed to pay for this less-efficient method of allocating resources.

But what is true is that the Third Frontier is a real, genuine example of bi-partisanship in Ohio. And it’s damn expensive.

Speaker Bill Harris- Flashback

November 18th, 2009 Matt Comments off

From Oct. 29:

Later, [Speaker Bill] Harris said: “All of the small businesses that I’ve talked to, including my sons’, feel that [Strickland's proposed income tax "freeze] is absolutely a tax increase.”

Harris has been adamant in the past that he will not vote to raise taxes. Democrats have called the plan a tax-rate freeze, not an increase.

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Enthusiasm and Harris

September 10th, 2009 Matt View Comments

From The Dispatch’s Jim Siegel:

Senate President Bill Harris wasn’t enthusiastic when asked today if he supported a proposal to eliminate Ohio’s estate tax.

The Ashland Republican said he’s willing to listen to supporters, but that he wants more information about what the bill does. When told it simply eliminates the tax, Harris said, “If it was that simple, it would have been done a long time ago.”

The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity is pushing for an initiated statute to repeal the estate tax, which is paid on estates valued at $338,333 or more after residents die.

Considering his answer above, and his work on the Strickland budget compromise, I’m not “enthusiastic” about Senate President Bill Harris, who is apparently a Republican.

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Senator Harris Covers for Gov. Strickland on the Misuse of Tobacco Money

August 13th, 2009 Matt Comments off

From Gongwer ($$$):

However, the Senate president [Bill Harris] expressed some concern about funding the state’s high-tech development program.

“We don’t have the tobacco money, so it’s going to have to be bonded dollars,” he said, noting the original $1.6 billion program is funded in part through tobacco settlement money that’s currently tied up in court. As for whether the state can afford to take on the additional debt necessary to fund a renewal or expansion, Sen. Harris said, “That’s something I think we’re going to have to wrestle with.”.

We could do that, ooooooooooooooooor, we could “wrestle” with Gov. Strickland over shrinking state government, reforming pensions, and try to find creative, fiscally conservatives ways to avoid a massive tax increase in 2011.

But on second thought, forget that idea. That’s hard work. Forget Ohio’s sagging bond rating, and bring on the debt, Senator Harris!

The 7th Ohio Senate District

August 4th, 2009 Matt View Comments

3forthe7th

From The Dayton Daily News reports that resumes are being accepted!

The Ohio Senate is taking applications to fill former Sen. Bob Schuler’s seat. Schuler died in June after a long bout with cancer

Sen, President Bill Harris, R-Ashland, today, Aug. 3, announced the Ohio Senate Republican caucus will accept applications to fill the 7th Senate District seat, which is comprised of Warren County and the eastern portion of Hamilton County.

State Rep. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, is one of three candidates known to be interested in the vacancy. Michelle Schneider, former Madiera mayor and state representative, and former Mt. Lookout representative Tom Brinkman Jr. have confirmed they are seeking the seat.

Interested candidates will be screened by a committee of Republican senators on Monday, Aug. 10. In addition to Sen. President Harris, the committee will be comprised of President Pro Tempore Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, Majority Floor Leader Keith Faber, R-Celina, Majority Whip Mark Wagoner, R-Toledo, Sen. Karen Gillmor, R-Tiffin, Sen. John Carey, R-Wellston, and Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield.

On Tuesday, Aug. 11, the full Republican caucus will vote to officially seat the individual recommended by the screening committee.

The dynamics of this appointment process are fascinating. And from whispers among the State House crowd, it is clear that Shannon Jones is a non-issue, and this seat already belongs to Michelle Schneider, who is wealthy enough to fund her own campaign and will break the fundraising caps.

While looking at the names of who is on this screening committee, it is interesting to note that it was those members of the Senate Leadership - Harris, Carey, Wagoner, Faber, and Niehaus – who were also the REPUBLICAN TRAITORS who cut a deal with Gov. Strickland and ignored the will of Ohio voters by allowing Gov. Strickland to, unconstitutionally, expand gambling by executive order. In addition, these five ignored the critical government reform that Bill Batchelder’s principled minority caucus was advocating, which would have harmed Strickland politically, kept the toxic budget debate on the front pages for at least three more months, and would have been a major step in the right direction of avoiding MASSIVE tax increases in 2011.

Without question, the best choice for this seat is former Rep. Tom Brinkman, who is founder of COAST, is responsible for important state government transparency legislation (HB 420), and is so anti-tax that he was violently punched in the face by former Speaker Larry Householder’s Chief of Staff because Tom refused to support Bob Taft’s massive tax increases!

While working as a State House employee, I marveled as Brinkman consistently voted “NO” on practically everything. However, Brinkman is so unwilling to give into the statist agenda that the pathetic Ohio Senate leadership will undoubtedly pick the loaded & politically-malleable Schneider.

Get out your checkbook Michelle, and welcome back to the legislature!

LetOhioVote.org Update

July 26th, 2009 Matt Comments off

Dennis Willard offers the first detailed update I’ve seen which shows how brilliant the LetOhioVote.org effort is:

An attorney for Let Ohio Vote, David Langdon from Cincinnati, produced two Ohio Supreme Court rulings of his own to argue the attorney general and secretary of state should move ahead with checking the language and certifying the signatures.

Carlo LoParo, a Let Ohio Vote spokesman, said it is the court’s responsibility to determine whether Strickland and lawmakers have the legal authority to stop a referendum on the slot machines.

”Brunner and Cordray do not have the authority to stop this. Their role is strictly administrative. They should have accepted the filings,” LoParo said.

The argument between Let Ohio Vote and the two officeholders will become moot once the court rules.

A decision against Strickland and lawmakers would give Let Ohio Vote the chance to gather the necessary signatures to put the issue before voters in November 2010.

And if the court rules in their favor, Ted Strickland is in big trouble:

Soon, Strickland might find himself back at square one with Harris.

By then, however, Strickland would have lost seven precious months and he would have to address anew the two-year budget that is so precariously balanced on the promise of $933 million in slot machine money.

If we had a seriously organized Republican opposition in Ohio, Senate Republicans wouldn’t have compromised with Ted Strickland’s plan to ignore the will of the people and expand gambling in Ohio, while ignoring the reform which might help Ohio avoid a massive  2011 tax-hike.  But since Bill Harris and company are too lazy to fight Gov. Strickland, LetOhioVote.org is doing it for them.

(Please join their new Facebook page here.)

Republicans, Democrats Join Together To Support Corporate Welfare

July 25th, 2009 Matt Comments off

I’m sure the sleazy-bastards at Hicks Partners are glad that Bob Taft’s corporate welfare proposal is not dead:

Strickland, meanwhile, said in response to a question at the forum that he is “fully prepared” to call the legislature back into session before an Aug. 5 deadline to put an issue on the Nov. 3 ballot to renew the Third Frontier technology program.

House Speaker Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, has said he is willing to bring the Ohio House back to put the Third Frontier issue on the ballot if an agreement can be reached. But Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, has concerns.

Specifically, Harris said this week that although he supports the renewal, he is worried there isn’t enough time left to prepare the issue for the ballot and mount an effective campaign to pass it.

“My gut feeling at this point that it will take more than the time that we have available for this election coming up this fall,” Harris said. “We were successful and have been successful with Third Frontier (because) we’ve done it right.”

Seriously, why do Republicans put up with Bill Harris? He was the lead Senate Republican traitor on Strickland’s budget, and is too tied to special corporate interests to make a spirited defense of this socialistic program. (Even though, sadly, Taft’s program now looks like chump change and a conservative proposal compared to Federal “stimulus” spending.)

LetOhioVote.org Update

July 21st, 2009 Matt View Comments

From Gongwer ($$$):

VLT Suit-Harris: On another gambling matter, Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) said Tuesday he has concerns that a separate lawsuit seeking to block implementation of video lottery terminals at Ohio horse tracks will delay or derail expected revenues.

LetOhioVote.org asked the Ohio Supreme Court late Monday to clear the way for it to challenge at a referendum Gov. Ted Strickland’s plan to install up to 17,500 slot machines at the tracks through the Ohio Lottery.

“There’s no reason that this could not have been sent to the ballot,” Sen. Harris said. He noted that the litigation would produce legal expenses for the state.

The voters have shot down gambling proposals on 4 separate occasions. Senator Harris, if you’re not going to promote the House Minority’s plan to reform state government, and if you’re not going to hold Gov. Strickland’s feet to the fire on this budget then get the hell out of the way- and let Tom Brinkman and others take over.

Late today, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of a schedule for this law suit which could take up to a month for the parties involved to file arguments. (The dissenting Judges were Pfeifer and O’Connor, and both didn’t explain their objections.)

With these sorts of delays, and the possibility that Gov. Strickland doesn’t have the authority to permit VLTs at race tracks, Mr. and Mrs. Redfern should cash their checks from Mountaineer Gaming quickly.

Clawback Provision

July 7th, 2009 Matt Comments off

From Aaron Marshall:

Strickland has said there isn’t time to put the slots issue before voters. But Republicans seized on language in a draft of the proposal that allows track owners to recoup license fees if voters approve a proposed November ballot issue allowing casinos in four Ohio cities.

Republicans say that so-called “clawback provision” makes any racetrack slots revenues contingent on the election anyway. They say that makes it a no-brainer to go to voters with a slots plan.

But Strickland said Monday that he doesn’t support the clawback. His spokeswoman said the draft language being circulated was House language, not necessarily what the governor favored.

“The governor has always made it clear that the legislature needed to work out the details,” said spokeswoman Amanda Wurst.

It wasn’t too long ago when Gov. Strickland was pounding his chest and saying “I own this issue.” But now he wants to hand it off to the legislature to decide details? Just like Keno, Strickland could just go ahead and do this own his own by executive order.

By the way, how much would the clawback be if the ballot issue passes? $45o million! And for you teachers out there, remember that gambling in Ohio always under-performs in terms of revenue, and yet Gov. Strickland’s education funding is based off of his gambling proposal.

Republicans need to call Strickland’s bluff on shutting down the government. The people of Ohio have said they want to vote on gambling, and there is absolutely no reason for the GOP to ignore the will of the people.

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