Kasich touts $8 million in corporate welfare for Medicaid fraudsters

Kasich Corporate Welfare Recipient Defrauds Government, Gets Big Paycheck
Omnicare, you may recall, was awarded millions in state incentives to move across the river–bring its existing employees with it–from Kentucky. Now, facing a massive settlement for Medicaid fraud , the company’s CEO is leaving with a big severance check worth over $3.3 million. Because if anyone should get a bonus, it’s the guy who convinced Governor Kasich to give him taxpayer money for not hiring anyone in Ohio or contributing to the tax base.

Fracking Regulations
When oil and gas lobbyists applaud your new fracking “regulation” it’s probably not very good. In coverage of the bill, the Kasich folks are touting its “cradle to grave” chemical disclosure provisions, indicating they haven’t actually read the bill he signed. That language was stripped out in the Senate and replaced with text from corporate-friendly legislation factory, ALEC. Chemical disclosure in SB315 not only exempts materials deemed “trade secret”, it no longer requires disclosure of chemicals used prior to and after fracking a well, as Kasich claimed. Oops.

As we told you here first, lawmakers are confirming that it is their intention to punt on the question of a fair fracking tax until after the November elections. Courage. 

School “fix” need fixed
The Blade editorializes about policy changes in Governor’s MBR legislation (SB316). Its 3rd grade reading guarantee is an unfunded mandate that would hold back 1 of 8 third graders, overcrowding classrooms and making it harder for next year’s third grade class to advance. Similarly, a proposal to change district report cards assumes parents are stupid and cannot comprehend words, offering a single letter to understand how their district is doing. The result – may districts with complex problems will get a very simplistic “D” or “F” rating, jeopardizing much-needed levies and putting home values at risk. A day or two remains to fix the bill. Any bets on whether that will happen?

Charter operators “fix” Cleveland school bill
Apparently passing a reform package for the Cleveland schools is life or death, or so says bill sponsor Representative Sandra Wiliams: “We are either going to save the kids of Cleveland, or we’re going to let them perish.” Well OK then, let’s not do that. The bill sends public levy money to charter schools and waters down charter oversight. The bill is making its final hurried rush through the House today and will be in the Senate tomorrow.

School funding also needs a fix
Public money is being drained away to the benefit of private education through vouchers and charters. That is the conclusion of a new Youngstown Vindicator editorial. Meanwhile, even the state’s best schools face a money crunch. Lakota schools, one of the state’s highest achieving districts, was hit hard by state budget cuts, but lingering uncertainty about whether Kasich will ever move on his overdue promise to fix school funding has caused it to delay a levy attempt.  Even well-off districts are seeing hard times. After having its minimal state funding cut by $2.6 million in the budget, Upper Arlington schools are seeking a new levy to operate for three years. More evidence that our system of relying on local property taxes to fund schools is inadequate and it’s time to fix it (again). Two years of dithering by the Kasich administration dithered is costing local communities dearly.

Obamacare embraced by health insurers (in cynical bid to help GOP?)
Obamacare provisions are so popular (when you tell people about them) that major health insurers are now seeking public relations wins by announcing they’ll keep them even if the law is scrapped. Those benefits include keeping kids up to age 25 on their parent’s policies, preventive care without co-pays and the end of lifetime limits. If the ACA is struck down, Republicans would have been required to act in the face of kids being thrown off insurance policies and co-payments going back up. Now, if the private sector offers the popular options voluntarily the GOP could be off the hook. How convenient! However, some of the law’s other important provisions like the end to pre-existing conditions, eliminating the Medicare Rx donut hole and gender equity in health insurance pricing, aren’t part of the voluntary reforms adopted by insurers.

Romney and Obama coming to town
Obama will visit Cleveland to talk about recovery of the auto industry, while Romney fundraises in Cincinnati. Expect lots more of Kasich pissing all over the auto industry. Hopefully Romney won’t insult the hamburgers at K’s or the pancakes in Newark like he did with those cookies in Pennsylvania.

Kasich claims more bipartisanship
Press secretary Rob Nichols tells PolitiFact that the clearest way to determine that bipartisanship is increasing under his boss is to look at votes for the Governor’s 2nd, noncontroversial 2012 budget bill vs. his first 2-year budget passed in 2011. Actually, Rob, the best way is to compare Kasich’s first two-year budget to Strickland’s. Kasich’s rookie effort, HB153, picked up only 3 Democratic votes compared to HB119, Strickland’s first budget, which was one vote shy of unanimous in the GOP-controlled legislature at the time. Nice try.

New bank tax bill includes millions in loopholes
Kasich’s new bank tax legislation (HB510) would give millions in tax cuts to mortgage bankers, stock brokers, payday lenders and other Wall Street types, or so says a new report from Policy Matters Ohio.