Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday's Loose Ends

I tend to prefer means testing for taxes, but I have a possibly wacky guess as to why Ted doesn't like means-testing the Homestead Exemption for Seniors, and it's not administrative headaches...

When levies roll around, many seniors don't want to vote for them, which is a big problem, because seniors are the most likely group to come out and vote in the off-year and special elections where these levies often show up. A big problem for them is that their property taxes keep rising faster than their income due to the increasing assessed value of their homes, but unlike younger homeowners, they are less likely to see any direct benefit from the increased value of a home they never plan to sell. They have no kids in school, and their grandkids don't live in the district. If you want to sell a school funding system that continues to rely on property taxes, paying off seniors, especially well-off seniors, with a property tax break might be very helpful. Means testing the exemption might simply create greater resentment among a population whose support you need.

Like I said, possibly wacky.

I keep getting more and more ambivalent about HB151. I will say that it was interesting to see the simultaneous statewide realization of the existence of the public employees themselves. I thought it was a good, unique point when I made it, but by the next time I looked, everyone was making it. Of course, it can be neatly sidestepped when the heads of the funds open their official response to "the deal" with:

Dear Speaker Husted, On behalf of the more than one million active and retired members of the Ohio Retirement Systems, thank you for meeting with us on June 5, 2007 to discuss Sub. H.B. 151. The Ohio Retirement Systems oppose terrorism and genocide, and share the General Assembly’s concerns over the acts of the governments of Iran and Sudan.
I guess the funds are in charge of their members' consciences as well as cash after all. My bad.

And finally, GIRFOF seems a little peeved about the public speculation that they might hold off a year, like some folks (cough) encouraged after hearing that supporters of the proposal were considering it:

"We are going forward with an all-volunteer effort and doing what we can to get on the November ballot," Jim Betts, head of Getting It Right for Ohio's Future, said afterward. The coalition has until Aug. 8 to submit signatures of 402,276 registered voters for the issue to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. With two months to go, they've collected about 100,000 names, Betts said. Other supporters declined to comment, saying they had agreed that only Betts would speak on behalf of the campaign.

I think they meant that from now on, only Betts...

I'm heading to Vermont tonight for a wedding this weekend. It should be quite nice, but I can certainly think of better ways to spend 6 hours of my birthday than hanging out in airports and flying with a 14-month-old. I won't have internet access until I get back, so if anyone wants to get me a present, just join me in asking Ohio not to do anything too interesting for the next 50-60 hours. Thanks.

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