Redistricting petition certified


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Petition for Constitutional Amendment on Congressional Redistricting Certified

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office certified the petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would change the process for congressional redistricting in Ohio.

On May 10, 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled the Bipartisan Congressional Redistricting Reform Amendment, from the attorney representing the petitioning committee, Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio. The petition was certified today as containing both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed amendment.

“Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, but pursuant to the duties imposed upon the Attorney General’s Office […] I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law,” Attorney General DeWine stated in the certification letter.

Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.

Ballot Board Certifies Congressional Redistricting As Single Ballot Issue

COLUMBUS– The Ohio Ballot Board today (May 30) certified the proposed constitutional amendment regarding congressional redistricting as a single ballot issue.

Petitioners will now need to collect 305,591 signatures, which is equal to 10 percent of the total vote cast for governor in 2014, in order to place the issue on the ballot.

As part of the total number of signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, petitioners must also have collected signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, collect enough signatures equal to five percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2014.

Secretary Husted serves as the Chairman of the Ohio Ballot Board in his official capacity as the Ohio Secretary of State. Other members include State Senator Jay Hottinger, State Senator Michael Skindell, State Representative Kathleen Clyde and Mr. William Morgan. Ballot Board meetings are open to the public.

Senator Vows Continued Fight to Protect GLRI

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) blasted President Trump’s budget for eliminating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a highly successful program that jumpstarted efforts to protect, maintain and restore the integrity of the Great Lakes.

“As a kid, I can remember how polluted Lake Erie was. While we have made huge strides in cleaning it up, there is still more to do,” said Brown. “Taking a blow torch to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative could cost Ohio jobs that rely on the Lake, and jeopardize public health by putting our drinking water at risk. Those of us along the Great Lakes will not stand for a budget that eliminates the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

The budget also eliminates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant Program, which funds Ohio State Stone Lab on Lake Erie. Stone Lab plays a critical role in monitoring and protecting Lake Erie.

Brown spoke out against the President’s efforts to eliminated GLRI. In the government funding measure, Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) helped ensure that the measure included $300 million for GLRI for the remainder of the fiscal year, battling back reported attempts to cut the GLRI by $50 million this fiscal year. Brown spoke to Lake Erie business owners earlier this month to discuss the importance of protecting the Great Lakes.

Last Congress, Brown cosponsored the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2015 (GLEEPA) – a bill would reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and codify the program into statute. In December, Brown successfully fought to include authorization for GLRI in the Senate water bill.

“Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue” Attracts Broad-based Coalition

Columbus – Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue kicked off its campaign by announcing that a diverse and broad-based coalition of Ohio organizations and associations will oppose and seek to defeat the deceptively worded “Ohio Drug Price Relief Act.” The proposal (technically called an “initiated statute”) will be on the November 2017 ballot.

Authored and promoted by controversial California activist Michael Weinstein, the initiative would prohibit Ohio’s state government from paying more for prescription drugs than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Another provision would give the ballot issue’s four named co-sponsors an unprecedented right to intervene—at taxpayer expense—in any post-election legal challenges that may be filed against the initiative or its implementation.

A virtually identical version of this ballot issue, called “Proposition 61,” was soundly defeated in California last year (53%—47%), and was also opposed by every major newspaper in the state.

Said Coalition Campaign Manager Curt Steiner:

“While everyone agrees that Ohioans need access to affordable medicines, this deceptive and vaguely worded initiative won’t fix the problem or do what it promises. In fact, experts who have studied the proposal—including three former Ohio Medicaid Directors and a former state Budget Director—say it’s not only unworkable, but could actually increase prescription drug costs for the majority of Ohioans and reduce patient access to needed medications. The so-called Drug Price Relief Act is a Trojan Horse we can’t afford to let into our state.”

Added Campaign Communications Director Dale Butland:

“That’s why more than 30 Ohio organizations and associations so far—representing doctors, nurses, patients, veterans, organized labor and the business community—have joined together to oppose this misguided ballot initiative. Starting today, we’ll be supplementing our voter education efforts with a robust paid media campaign that will run on broadcast and cable TV all across the state, as well as on mobile and digital platforms. We urge all Ohioans to get the facts at www.DeceptiveRxIssue.org. Once voters know the truth, we’re confident they will give this ballot issue the defeat it so richly deserves.”

Education groups oppose move to charge school districts for valuation challenge losses

COLUMBUS — The state’s three leading education management organizations submitted testimony in the Ohio Senate expressing opposition to a specific provision in the state biennial budget bill. The provision in Amended Substitute House Bill 49 would require a school district or other local government entity that loses an appeal of a property valuation case to pay property owners’ attorney fees and costs.

The groups said they oppose the House proposal because property valuation appeals by schools and local government have been a critical part of Ohio’s local tax structure for decades.

The organizations maintain that it is just one component of an appropriate system of checks and balances that protects not only local governments and schools but also other taxpayers in the taxing district.

Barbara Shaner, advocacy specialist for the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) said, “When schools and local governments challenge the value of a property, the other property taxpayers stand to benefit through lower, more accurate tax rates. It’s a way to be sure everyone is paying a fair share.”

Shaner added that the tax commissioner sets tax rates based on county auditors’ certified valuations of real property, which both the property owner and taxing authority (school boards and others) may challenge.

Tom Ash, director of government relations for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), stated, “This entire process determines the generation of a school district’s annual tax revenue, and it’s important that it be as accurate as possible.”

Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Director of Legislative Services Damon Asbury said, “Mandating the payment of fees to the loser will have a chilling effect on the decision of whether to appeal, which extends beyond just one property and one case. Further, if the state insists on this cost-recovery mechanism, at a minimum it should be applied to both sides. If the property owner loses an appeal, he or she also should be required to pay attorney fees and costs of the taxing authority. The one-sided penalty contemplated in Amended Substitute House Bill 49 is punitive and unfair.”

The groups said they hope the Senate will remove the provision from Amended Substitute House Bill 49 and instead work to resolve concerns about the current process in a more reasonable way.

The three organizations also joined with a coalition of seven other statewide organizations representing local governments and citizens to send a letter to members of the Senate on the issue.

End regressive taxation

Understand deceitful taxes…

So 47% think they are tax free. They, like all of us consumers, are paying well over $0.28 per dollar in hidden embedded regressive sale tax. You see, taxes on business are another expense and like all business expenses are paid with the money received from customers. Higher business taxes drive up prices and end up being paid as a hidden embedded regressive sales tax. The other regressive tax is the payroll taxes, FICA, with one rate based on wages. The FAIRtax bill HR 25 ends payroll taxes and $0.22 per dollar in imbedded regressive taxes plus the income tax, capital gains tax, estate tax, ATM and self employment tax. Medicare and Social Security are not changes and their funding is moved to a larger, more stable tax base. To replace the same tax total the FAIRTax adds a progressive national sales/consumption tax system with only one tax break, call Prebate that helps most the impoverished. The FAIRtax is a pay as you spend tax system so as you spend more you pay more tax and at a higher tax rate. The FAIRtax is the solution to end regressive taxes, a jobs and economic stimulus, border adjusting taxes, returning offshore capital, tax evasion, crony capitalism and ending the IRS. Learn more about real/true tax reform and join the cause at bigsolution.org and #FAIRtax.

Paul Livingston

FAIRtax volunteer

BROWN STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) blasted President Trump’s budget saying it will leave communities strapped for needed resources to support working Ohio families.

“Ohio families know that making a budget is about choosing priorities. This budget makes it clear Ohio families are not this Administration’s priority,” said Brown. “Instead of investing in our communities so they can create jobs, combat the opioid epidemic, upgrade their infrastructure, and protect our clean water, this budget will leave our towns and cities scrambling to support working Ohioans. Thankfully, Congress will have a say in the final budget and I will work with Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio delegation to fight for Ohio priorities.”

The Trump Administration’s budget will:

· Cut Healthcare

Cuts Medicaid by $600 billion and cuts the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

· Cut Efforts to Combat Opioids

Cuts programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration by nearly $400 million and does not increase funding to help states combat the opioid crisis.

· Cut Job Training

Cuts the Department of Labor’s workforce training funding by 40 percent.

· Cut Safe Housing

Cuts $1.3 billion – nearly 70 percent – in the public housing repair budget, which would leave more children, families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities exposed to mold, lead, and other health hazards.

· Raise Taxes on Working Families

Reduces the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Together, these credits lift an average of 289,000 Ohioans out of poverty each year including an average of 162,000 children. 939,000 Ohio households claimed the EITC in 2016.

· Cut Nutrition Assistance

Cuts funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $190 billion over 10 years. SNAP helps children, families and seniors access nutritious meals.

The Trump Administration’s budget will eliminate the following programs:

· The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Last year, LIHEAP provided more than $145 million in assistance to Ohio. Brown spoke out against these cuts.

· The Appalachian Regional Commission. Brown spoke out against these cuts.

· The Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which is a public-private partnership consisting of MEP centers throughout all 50 states. Brown has been a strong supporter of the MEP, which provides approximately $5 million a year to Ohio’s 7 MEP centers. These centers help small and medium-sized manufacturers increase sales and achieve cost-savings.

· The Community Development Block Grant program, which supports a broad range of community investments, affordable housing, and rural water infrastructure in cities and towns of all sizes across Ohio. Ohio received $137.5 million in funding for community development grants in fiscal 2016 alone.

· The Economic Development Administration. During fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2016, EDA invested over $8.2 million in 21 Ohio projects, which applicants estimate will help create or retain nearly 2,600 jobs and leverage over $161.5 million in private investment.

· Funding for new projects under DOT TIGER Grant, which provides multimodal investments to revitalize cities and promote freight movement, and the Capital Investment Grant program, which expands rail and bus transit services. Multiple Ohio communities have benefited from these programs, and new applications, like Columbus’s Rickenbacker Inland Port Interstate Connector and Youngstown’s Smar2t Corridor, would be prevented for applying for funds.

Senator Rob Portman Endorses Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate

Republicans Unifying around Mandel as Republican Nominee

COLUMBUS – U.S. Senator Rob Portman endorsed Josh Mandel in Ohio’s 2018 race for United States Senate.

“Josh is a Marine veteran and a fiscal conservative who has led the charge to make our state’s government the most transparent and accountable in the entire country,” said Senator Portman. “Today, I’m encouraging all Republicans to unify behind Josh so we can work together to get this economy moving again, to fight for more jobs and higher wages, and to restore America’s leadership role in the world. Just as Josh served two tours of duty in Iraq protecting us, he’ll continue to work hard to keep us safe as a United States Senator.”

“I’m honored to have Senator Portman’s support,” said Mandel. “Rob is a proven fighter for Ohio families and is leading the charge to tackle our most challenging issues. From the opioid epidemic and combatting human trafficking to protecting our Great Lakes and unleashing our home-grown energy resources, Rob is at the forefront of working to make Ohio a better place to work and live. As our next United State Senator, I’ll join Rob in Washington to fight for the issues that matter most to Ohioans.”

Senator Portman’s endorsement is just the latest in a steady flow of momentum solidifying Treasurer Mandel’s position as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

In recent weeks, two independent polls were released showing Mandel leading Sherrod Brown in the race for US Senate in Ohio. Coming from some of the only polling organizations to correctly predict Donald Trump’s general election victory in 2016, three independent polls in a row have shown Mandel leading Brown.

In addition, after months of speculation and over $6 million in the bank to use in a primary, Congressman Pat Tiberi announced last week that he would not run for the U.S. Senate, clearing the way for Mandel to take up the Republican mantle against Brown.

Mandel already is well-positioned with a strong grassroots network, county leaders in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, and two weeks ago, Mandel earned the support of Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman Dave Johnson and a host of other state party activists.

These moves add to the growing list of notable conservatives who have lined up in support behind Mandel, including Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Tom Cotton.

In what will likely be one of the most expensive and high profile Senate races in the country, conservatives in Ohio and across America agree that Josh Mandel is the strongest candidate to defeat Sherrod Brown next year.

Senator Portman’s endorsement video can be viewed here:

Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate in Ohio

From Ted Cruz:

I’m writing to you today because we have a tremendous opportunity in Ohio. Liberal Senator Sherrod Brown is up for re-election in 2018, and we can’t afford to let him win. Fortunately, we have just the person running to defeat him and give Ohio the conservative representation it deserves in the U.S. Senate – Josh Mandel.

Will you join me and stand with Josh now? In Ohio, not only do we have the chance to build on our Republican majority, we have the opportunity to elect a principled conservative with a track record of fighting for jobs, freedom, and security for Ohioans and all Americans. That person is Josh Mandel.

Josh Mandel is the conservative warrior we need in the U.S. Senate. When I first met Josh, I was immediately impressed by his dedication and passion for advancing conservative principles. Josh has never been afraid to stand up and fight for those values, leading the charge in Ohio to stop sanctuary cities, crack down on illegal immigration, and put an end to Common Core. I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with him in the Senate and encourage all Republicans to do the same.

It’s all hands on deck in Ohio. The Democrats are certain to pour millions of dollars into this race – that’s why Josh needs your help today to ensure he has the resources necessary to win in the primary and general elections.

Will you stand with me in supporting him with a contribution directly to Josh’s campaign today?

Together, we can – and will – elect Josh Mandel to be the next U.S. Senator from Ohio. Please join me in standing with Josh right now.

For Liberty, Ted Cruz

Coverage for 71,000 Ohio Veterans Threatened by Plan to Repeal Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Ohio veteran Mark Caddo to outline how the House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act will threaten healthcare for 71,000 Ohio veterans covered by Medicaid.

“We owe all of our veterans – and the families who support them – our gratitude, our respect, and the best healthcare in the world,” said Brown. “The last thing we ought to be doing is making it harder for these men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country to get the care they need. When returning home, they should be able to focus on spending time with loved ones and rejoining their communities, not worrying about how they’ll afford healthcare.”

Despite common misconceptions, many veterans and their family members do not qualify for health insurance coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and many of them rely on Medicaid as their only alternative.

· A report released this week by FamiliesUSA finds that Medicaid covers 1.75 million veterans nationally and 71,000 veterans in Ohio.

· According to the Kasich Administration, 25,000 of those Ohio veterans are covered through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, along with 12,000 family members of veterans.

The House repeal bill would eliminate the Medicaid expansion, kicking those 25,000 Ohio veterans and 12,000 family members off of their health insurance. Then the bill would cut an additional $880 billion from traditional Medicaid, threatening coverage for the other 46,000 Ohio vets covered by the program.

For every $1 Ohio spends caring for veterans through Medicaid, on average, 63 cents comes from federal dollars that would be cut by the House bill.

Brown was joined on the call by Mark Caddo, an Ohio veteran.

Brown, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is the longest-serving Ohioan who has sat on the committee.

$9 Trillion Tax Evasion Forecast for Next Decade

A recent study by economist Richard Cebula forecasts a cumulative tax evasion of approximately $9 Trillion in the years 2017-2026. The tax evasion gap reflects the difference between taxes owed and taxes actually paid. The 2017 shortfall is projected to be $693 Billion, which represents about one-fifth of the $3.3 Trillion in taxes collected. Read the Cebula study here: http://bigsolution.org/wp_DEV_/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/04/Tax_Evasion_Study_Brief.pdf

Several reasons for the increasing tax evasion are the growing number of self-employed Americans and contract employees who don’t have their taxes withheld and the growing underground cash economy. Millions of American residents are either under-reporting their income, or in the case of the underground economy, not reporting it at all.

The cost of complying with our income tax code also burdens the American economy. Tax filing software designer Philip Schlosser estimates that annual tax compliance costs are approaching $1 Trillion. Read his analysis here: https://taxrevolution.us/tax-code-complexity-costs-up-to-1-trillion-per-year/

A recent study by the Tax Foundation reveals that 82% of the public favors a complete overhaul of the federal tax system. A plan that calls for a complete tax overhaul , the FAIRtax Act (HR-25), is filed in the House Ways and Means Committee. It calls for the elimination of the federal income tax code, including the Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and replacing it with a consumption tax at the point of purchase. The FAIRtax plan was favored by Vice President Mike Pence when he served in Congress.

FAIRtax would dramatically lower compliance costs and tax evasion by collecting taxes at the point of purchase and eliminating the cumbersome personal income tax returns. Businesses which sell new retail goods or services will collect the consumption tax and remit it to state revenue departments, which in turn remit the taxes collected to the U.S. Treasury. The sponsors of the FAIRtax Act are Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA, 202-225-4272) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS, 202-224-6521).

Sincerely,

Randy Fischer

Americans For Fair Taxation

Ohioans for Concealed Carry Endorses Jon Husted for Ohio Governor

COLUMBUS– During an event in Lebanon, Ohio, Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC) announced their endorsement of Jon Husted for Governor. Husted is seeking the 2018 Republican Nomination for Governor of Ohio.

“If you care about your 2nd Amendment Rights, there is no question that Jon Husted is the only candidate deserving your vote for Governor in 2018,” said OFCC Board Member Kim Campbell. “Jon Husted is the only candidate we can trust to never turn his back on our constitutional rights, which is why we need him in the Governor’s Office.”

OFCC was founded in 1999 as a grassroots organization with the primary goal of seeing concealed carry legislation passed in Ohio. That goal was accomplished, in large part, due to Jon Husted’s efforts. The organization continues to advocate for the rights of all Ohio gun owners.

“I want all Ohioans to know that in receiving this endorsement, I understand, respect and will always defend their constitutional rights,” stated Secretary Husted. “My campaign for governor provides freedom-loving Ohioans confidence that they will have someone in the Governor’s Office who will stick with them, not some of the time, not most of the time, but all of the time.”

In 2006, Husted led the passage of legislation to create a statewide standard for lawfully carrying a concealed firearm. The bill, House Bill 347, received overwhelming praise from 2nd Amendment supporters. The governor ultimately vetoed the bill and then-Speaker Husted spearheaded the successful effort to overturn that veto.

The veto override of House Bill 347 is still the most recent example of a bill becoming law in Ohio, despite a gubernatorial veto.

In addition to today’s endorsement by OFCC, Jon Husted is an A+ rated candidate with the National Rifle Association and has never held below an A rating with the prominent 2nd Amendment group.

There are now three organizations who have endorsed in the 2018 Republican Gubernatorial Primary, all of whom are backing Jon Husted, including Ohioans for Concealed Carry, the Williams County Republican Party and the Ohio University College Republicans.

Jon Husted is the conservative, Republican candidate for Governor of Ohio. He is pro-life and a lifelong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Secretary Husted is the 2017 Americans for Prosperity Torchbearer for requesting a 100% cut in taxpayer funding for his office after reducing spending by 16 percent, even as overall state spending increased by 17 percent. He has been endorsed for Governor by Ohioans for Concealed Carry, the Williams County Republican Party, and the Ohio University College Republicans. He was reelected Secretary of State in 2014 by a 24 percent landslide. He considers his most important roles to be husband to his wife, Tina, and father to Alex, Katie and Kylie.

Diverse Coalition Supports Electric Consumer Protections of House Bill 247

Group says legislation addresses certain ratemaking provisions in current law that are anti-competitive and bad for electricity consumers and for Ohio’s economy

A diverse coalition of pro-competition consumer organizations announced its support for electric legislation (HB 247), sponsored by Rep. Mark Romanchuk, R-Ontario, which was introduced in the Ohio General Assembly.

AARP Ohio (AARP), Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC), Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC),

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA), and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) jointly applauded the legislation, which they say will address anti-consumer provisions that date back to the implementation of Senate Bill 221 in 2008. That bill altered the regulatory structure under which Ohio’s electric utilities operate, created new ratemaking provisions, and established policies to promote advanced and renewable energy.

“We applaud Representative Romanchuk for recognizing the need for consumer friendly legislation — AARP and its 1.5 million members across the State of Ohio will benefit from this legislation,” said Trey Addison AARP Ohio Associate Director. “This bill will ensure that Ohio energy customers, especially those age 50-plus living on fixed incomes, are protected from unfair, above-market charges.”

Ohio’s transition to a competitive retail market for electricity generation has had success, and the benefits are well-documented. They include billions of dollars in savings for consumers, new natural gas-fired generation and more than adequate standby capacity to meet Ohio’s peak needs. Nonetheless, certain ratemaking provisions in current law are anti-competitive and bad for consumers and for Ohio. HB 247 addresses the most anti-competitive and anti-consumer of these provisions.

“Lower electric prices in the competitive market should translate to lower electric bills for Ohio families and businesses,” said Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston. “But an obstacle to lower electric bills for Ohioans has been the 2008 energy law, which has favored utilities for rate increases with consumers paying more than the market price of electricity. The legislation introduced today is a major step toward consumer protection, by limiting the utilities’ advantage in setting rates, by requiring refunds to consumers when utility charges are found to be improper and by relying on competitive markets more than monopolies for electricity.”

Under current law, residential consumers in Ohio are paying higher electric rates than consumers in 33 states.

Rep. Romanchuk’s bill solves three major problems for electric consumers:

1. HB 247 will eliminate “electric security plans” and reduce above-market charges for electricity. The electric security plans created in the 2008 law resulted in utilities charging customers above-market prices for electricity generation and favorable terms for utilities to obtain other rate increases. But Ohioans should be benefitting more from historically low prices for generation.

Billions of dollars in customer savings from competition have been documented, and increased savings should result from the new legislation.

2. Presently, consumers have been denied millions of dollars in refunds when utility charges have been deemed unlawful by the Ohio Supreme Court. HB 247 will allow customers to obtain refunds of utility charges that have been collected from customers, if the Supreme Court of Ohio finds the charges to be improper.

3. Charges to consumers have resulted from the continuing relationship between monopoly utilities and their corporate affiliates that own power plants. HB 247 will clarify in the law that utilities and their affiliate organizations cannot own generation and, therefore, cannot layer generation-related charges on consumers’ electric bills.

“Manufacturers, like other energy-intensive businesses, rely on affordable, reliable electricity,” said Eric Burkland, president of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. “Enactment of HB 247 will help protect manufacturers from unwarranted, anti-competitive, above-market charges imposed by electric utilities. The major provisions of HB 247 will help protect the billions of dollars of savings that customers have realized thanks to Ohio’s competitive market for electricity. Continued savings will spur economic growth, attract new business investment from manufacturers, and benefit the communities where they operate.”

The major provisions of HB 247 will undo anti-consumer ratemaking provisions contained in the 2008 law (SB 221) by eliminating structures that work against consumer and market interests.

“Ohio Farm Bureau applauds Representative Romanchuk for introducing a consumer savings bill, and we are happy to support the bill throughout the legislative process on behalf of our members,” said Adam Sharp, executive director of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

“Rep. Romanchuk is standing up for millions of Ohio consumers and small business owners with this legislation,” said Chuck Keiper, executive director of NOPEC. “We stand with him in these efforts to let the free market work, saving Ohioans billions of dollars by giving them the freedom of energy choice.”

HHS Report: Premiums have doubled since before Obamacare

HHS released a report using data from the Obama Administration that found Americans have seen their premiums MORE THAN DOUBLE over the last four years under Obamacare.

By Kimberly Leonard, Washington Examiner

Obamacare’s insurance regulations contributed to premiums doubling over the course of four years, finds a new federal report.

The findings, assembled by the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, show that since 2013, one year before the Obamacare regulations were fully implemented, premiums have risen from an average of $2,784 in 2013 to $5,712 in 2017 on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov. This represents an increase of $2,928, or 105 percent.

Premiums tripled in Alaska, Alabama and Oklahoma during the same time period, and the lowest premium increase, 12 percent, was in New Jersey.

“With data that shows average premiums doubling nationwide and Americans paying nearly $3,000 more for health insurance per year, this report is a sobering reminder of why reforming our healthcare system remains a top priority of the Trump Administration,” Alleigh Marre, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “The status quo is unsustainable.”

Prior to Obamacare, insurers were allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses and states varied the type of coverage they allowed insurers to offer. At the time health insurance could be sold with fewer medical benefits. This allowed for lower premiums for healthier people, but it also put coverage out of reach for millions of others.

Under Obamacare most people who sign up for coverage through the exchanges have not personally felt the premium increases because the law provides tax credits that reduce premium costs. But middle-class individuals and families, who make more than $48,240 or ​$98,400, respectively, often take on the full increases.

The report cites some of these changes in regulations as a reason for the increase.

“This analysis does not account for the fact that the overall populations enrolling in the individual market in 2017 are different from those enrolling in 2013,” the report says. “Older and less healthy people are a larger share of the individual market risk pool now than in 2013. The changing mix of enrollees and adverse selection pressure has likely been a significant cause of the large average premium increases in the individual market over this four-year period.”

The report also evaluates only the 39 states that used healthcare.gov, not those sold on state exchanges or off the federal exchange.

The report includes data from 2013, a benefit year that has not been captured in analyses. In addition to this previously unreported data, Americans now have a more complete picture of just how catastrophic Obamacare has been for patients on the exchanges.

In regards to premiums, “average monthly premiums increased from $224 in 2013 to $476 in 2017.” Of the 39 states using Healthcare.gov, 62 percent saw 2017 exchange premiums that at least doubled the 2013 average.

Why does 2013 matter so much? It paints a fuller picture of the Obamacare landscape – where premiums first began under the law. Today’s premiums are starkly higher, and they’re only amplified by fleeing insurers. Don’t even mention the CO-OPs (there’s only five left, in case you’re not counting).

The data reflects the real stories of patients under Obamacare. Like those in Alaska with an average monthly premium of $1,041 this year – up from $314 in 2013 – a 203 percent increase. Or patients in Oklahoma, who will only have one insurance provider next year, saw an average monthly premium of $620 this year – up from $206 in 2013 – a 201 percent increase.

Remember when President Obama promised the health care law would lower premiums by $2,500 per household? His own data tells another story – families are paying radically more.

Lower Your Local Tax Bill This Summer

1851 Center teaches citizens how to use local initiatives to place tax cut proposals on the ballot

Are you tired of do-nothing politicians but still looking to make a difference in government?

Have you recently opened an envelope with an unacceptably-large property tax bill? Or just paid an unreasonable amount of local income taxes?

Unbeknownst to many, Ohio law invites civic-minded Ohioans to initiate relatively simple petition drives to place tax cut proposals on the ballot.

In A Citizen’s Guide to Reducing Your Local Tax Burden, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law provides citizens with detailed, practical, and clear advice on how to lower their school district property or income taxes, as well as city, village, and township taxes, through a little known state statute.

By collecting just a few hundred valid signatures, over-taxed Ohioans can certify ballot issues to cut or repeal sky-rocketing local property or income taxes.

And there has never been a better time for such efforts:

• Ohioans have never been more entitled to tax relief. Local property and income taxes in Ohio have sharply increased during the Kasich Administration. Some estimate that Ohioans local tax burdens have increased by an average of 40 percent since Kasich took office.

• Ohioans are now subject to the ninth highest combined state and local tax burden in the nation, and the highest amongst all Midwestern states.

• There’s no indication that state or local politicians will do anything to curb this continuous cycle of levy elections and tax hikes. But local initiatives are a means by which citizens can circumvent unhelpful public officials and take matters into their own hands.

The 1851 Center provides free legal assistance to those interested in placing a tax relief proposal on their local ballot this fall.

You may not be able to influence what goes on in Washington D.C., or even Columbus. But through a local petition drive, you can directly influence your tax rate. And you don’t need to be a lobbyist or donate to a political campaign to do it.

You have a right to keep more of the money you’ve earned. And by passing a local tax cut, more of your hard-earned dollars can be diverted away from waste and devoted to you and your family’s health, education, safety, and general well-being.

Read A Citizen’s Guide to Reducing Your Local Tax Burden.

Donate

Our clients receive free legal representation thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you support our efforts to advance liberty and limit government, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

Local Opposition to Trumpcare Grows

While the Senate prepares to pick up the Republican health care repeal, Senate Republicans are also facing growing concern from voters in their districts about the future of their health coverage under the proposal that would cause 23 million to lose their health insurance. Across the country, communities are learning the impact of higher costs for pre-existing conditions and health plans without critical benefits.

Richmond County, North Carolina: Editorial: How Congress Is Sabotaging Obamacare In NC

“News this week of potentially steep Obamacare rate hikes in North Carolina next year comes close to a worst-case scenario for many in our state. The proposed 22.9 percent hike by Blue Cross and Blue Shield will hurt those who can afford it least, and it seems like yet another sign of the trouble the Affordable Care Act is in here and across the country. But the 22.9 percent increase also represents a worst-case scenario of sorts for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and the story behind that number shows exactly who’s to blame for Obamacare’s latest struggles. In explaining the proposed rate hike this week, Blue Cross pointed a finger directly at uncertainty surrounding the cost-sharing subsidies that the government pays insurers to help keep premiums down for Obamacare customers. The Trump administration has threatened to eliminate those payments, and Republicans in the U.S. House have sued to stop the cost-sharing program.”

Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Business-Sentinel: Sen. Ron Johnson peppered with questions about health insurance

About 35 protesters carry signs and chant outside a town hall meeting with Sen. Ron Johnson on Sunday at the Root River Center in Franklin.

“Ann Zielke, a 36-year-old mother, said her daughter is autistic and that the family counts on Medicaid to cover items, such as speech and occupational therapy, not covered by the family’s private insurance firm. ‘My daughter is Isla. She is 4 years old. She works harder than anyone in this room to do daily tasks. To take her Medicaid away is unconscionable.’

“Johnson responded, ‘I understand your point. What I’m going to try to do is whatever I can to make sure we don’t pull the rug out from anybody, including your daughter, OK?’”

Akron, Ohio: Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com: For House Republicans, it’s now repeal and return

“In essence, those with pre-existing conditions would face a landscape similar to the days before the Affordable Care Act — when coverage was unaffordable or inadequate, financial ruin hovering close. The CBO dismisses the House Republican substitute — high-risk pools, the funding far short of matching the costs. So, premiums and costs fall because many would be shut out. The Affordable Care Act needs substantial repair, including better incentives for young people and more realistic and generous subsidies. What the CBO reinforces is that House Republicans do not offer fixes. They would make things worse, mostly through the slashing of the Medicaid expansion and leaving behind too many who are most in need of coverage.”

Fargo, North Dakota: Omdahl: The Obamacare of 2010 doesn’t exist anymore

“Any of the proposals to broadening or increase coverage requires new calculations. They will all force an increase in the cost of coverage. So, when President Donald Trump promises better coverage for all at reduced premiums, he will have to pull more than rabbits out of the hat to implement that promise.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Tribune: Editorial: GOP bill would put 23 million out in health care wilderness

“The GOP House bill would result in some of the nation’s sickest to pay much more for health care, according to budget estimates. The CBO report provides the strongest evidence yet that GOP efforts to repeal and repair the Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama enacted in 2010, would leave millions of Americans significantly worse off with more uninsured and fewer benefits. The report issued Wednesday found that average premiums would fall compared with Obama’s health care overhaul. But that would be partly because policies would typically provide fewer benefits and sicker people would be priced out.”

“Voters should call their senators and tell them to reject the House bill, which would leave millions of Americans without health insurance.”

San Diego, CA: The San Diego Union-Tribune: CBO score makes GOP rush to repeal Obamacare laughable

“House Republicans were so eager to pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act — the 2010 law known as Obamacare — that they rushed through the American Health Care Act on May 4 without subjecting it to the normal scrutiny of the Congressional Budget Office. That itself was laughable given how much Republicans had properly criticized congressional Democrats for rushing through their health care overhaul without having a full grasp on its effects.”

“The good news is the Senate seems unlikely to follow the House’s lead. The bad news is Obamacare is in deep trouble in some states and a third of all counties — and that congressional Republicans and the president show no interest in trying to fix the program’s flaws, starting with the incentives it gives healthy people not to buy coverage. When it comes to health care in America, the prognosis is bleak.”

Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Register: Thousands of Iowans facing loss of insurance could get a new option — but it’d be pricey

“Iowa is poised to become the first state to lose all commercial carriers selling individual health-insurance policies in most of its counties. Such policies are what many people buy if they don’t have coverage provided by employers or government programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid.”

“The only three carriers selling individual policies in most Iowa counties — Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Aetna and Medica — have said they probably won’t sell them here for 2018.”

“The carriers cite market instability stemming from former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump’s stated desire to see that law fail and Congress’ off-and-on attempts to replace it.”

Springfield, Massachusetts: Masslive: Editorial: GOP health-care plan would only make things worse

“Those looking for some good news in the CBO report could site only one statistic: The House bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the next decade. Not exactly reason to strike up the band, is it? Not when those savings would come at the expense of millions more without health insurance and sky-high premiums.”

Detroit, Michigan: The Detroit News: Upton generates buzz, backlash for role in health bill

“Michigan’s senior Republican in Congress, Rep. Fred Upton, made national headlines this month when he struck a deal that aided House Republicans in passing their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.”

“It has also made Upton an early target for emboldened Democrats, who argue the moderate Republican’s high-profile part in passing the GOP health care bill renders him vulnerable — whether he runs for re-election in his southwestern Michigan district or tries to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing.”

“Democratic groups are running ads on network television and online, attacking Upton as a central player in a bill that was panned by major hospital and physician groups, saying it doesn’t guarantee affordable coverage for people with pre-existing illnesses.”

Bangor, Maine: Bangor Daily News: Editorial: Leaving millions without health insurance is not an improvement over Obamacare

“Here’s the quick take away from the nonpartisan analysis of the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act: If you are old and poor, your insurance premiums will increase — a lot. This is because the American Health Care Act, which was approved by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, allows states to opt out of current requirements that insurance companies cover ‘essential health benefits,’ such as preventive care, prescription drugs, hospitalization and maternity care.”

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