The Canton Repository, May 7
It’s far from perfect, but the latest version of the state’s biennium budget presents a more level-headed approach than the one Gov. John Kasich offered.
Still, the Ohio House budget, a $63.7 billion two-year spending plan that has moved to the Ohio Senate for consideration, can be called a mixed bag.
On one hand, one-third to one-half of the school districts in the state would lose funding under the proposal, as Marc Kovac, who covers the Statehouse for GateHouse Ohio Media, reported. …
On the other hand, it eliminates Kasich’s proposed tax-shifting, which again would have lowered the state income tax in favor of a higher sales tax; provides additional funding to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic; and removes another Kasich-backed proposal: centralizing the collection of municipal income taxes.
We applaud those moves. With revised tax projections forcing legislators to cut $800 million in spending, now is not the time for another change in the state’s tax structure. By the same token, as the national leader in the number of overdose deaths from heroin and other opioids, lawmakers need to invest more in treatment and recovery options. …
Lawmakers need to come together, deal with the revenue shortfall and put forth a commonsense budget that addresses the state’s needs without pushing off today’s issues on tomorrow’s taxpayers.
Sandusky Register, May 5
About five years ago the county land bank was established, and almost immediately it was successful in gaining state funding to remove dozens of blighted properties. The train was on the track, and it just keeps chugging along.
Last year, seven properties in Sandusky and Perkins Township were razed. …
Land bank director Scott Schell explained the purpose of the neighborhood initiative this way: “To stabilize property values by removing and greening vacant and blighted properties in targeted areas in an effort to prevent future foreclosures for existing homeowners.”
… For a casual observer, it can be difficult to see the progress because the land bank succeeds by removing the blight. The evidence is not apparent because the offending property is gone, replaced by green space.
But residents who routinely drive through communities in the county can see it clearly. Dozens of blighted properties have been removed thanks to the land bank program and other efforts to clean up neighborhoods.
… There is still much work to be done, but if the recent past is an indication, owners of properties that don’t meet code, or aren’t occupied, likely know by now they have a choice: Fix it up, or lose it