The Plain Dealer, April 1

Members of Congress are well-paid, with a base pay of $174,000 a year. That’s more than three times Ohioans’ median annual household income of $50,674.

And members of Congress enjoy benefits few of their constituents get, from generous health care and retirement packages to their own tennis court and air travel perks.

What members of Congress aren’t entitled to is free Washington housing at taxpayers’ expense. So, if some members choose to sleep in their offices to duck Washington rents, they’re freeloading off the Treasury — and fairness demands that they pay the government rent, or, at minimum, taxes on the perk.

More raises and allowances for our already well-compensated lawmakers are out of the question.

Instead, members of Congress who want to live in their congressional offices must either pay fair-market rent for their government-supplied lodging, or a fee to compensate the Treasury for the extra use of water, electricity and cleaning services along with federal taxes on the value of the perk. Anything less is an insult to taxpayers.


The Columbus Dispatch, March 28

Ohio’s not doing such a great job after all, it seems, in directing extra school funding to districts with more poor and minority students. A recent national report that said Ohio was second-best in the nation on this measure probably is mistaken, and that fact is one more illustration of how convoluted the state’s school-funding system is.

A month ago when the report by Education Trust came out, we said, “Give credit where it’s due.” Now we have to take that credit back, as a closer look by an Ohio expert suggests that Education Trust over counted the amount of state aid going to Ohio’s poor and high-minority districts.

Education Trust researchers likely didn’t know about Ohio’s unusual way of funding charter schools, which involves first allocating all funding to districts and then deducting a charter-school share from each district’s total.

Noting the apparent mistake is important; getting more resources to districts with greater need is a key part of closing stubborn achievement gaps between groups of students. Economics Ph.D. and public-policy analyst Howard Fleeter said that’s why he decided to review the Education Trust study.

“It’s a good question they’re asking, and it should have an accurate answer,” he said. We agree.