An old-timer town crier

In this new feature, every Monday morning, we will do a round-up of some of the biggest political stories on the front pages of papers around Ohio. This will be coupled with a Finally Friday feature, where we will take a look back at the week that was.

Will public-employee pensions be the next to face cuts?

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Public-employee pension funds are big business in Ohio, providing a safety net for 1.75 million people. There’s a lot riding on them.

Collectively, Ohio’s five public pension funds have $192 billion in assets and last year paid out more than $15 billion in pension benefits and $1.1 billion in health-care benefits. They are not required by law to provide health insurance, but all five do. Whether they will in the future is uncertain.

Although the funds have been mostly reliable and financially sound for decades, recent economic downturns, soaring health-care and prescription-drug costs, and the increased longevity of retirees have taken a toll. Several of the funds are reducing or eliminating cost-of-living adjustments, cutting subsidies and increasing health-care premiums.

Is Jerry Springer planning a challenge to U.S. Rep. Ben Wenstrup in OH-2?


Jerry Springer, who believes he appeals to President Donald Trump’s working-class and rural voting base, is exploring a 2018 run for Congress in a district that covers a chunk of Ohio’s Appalachian region.

A phone poll was conducted this week in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District to gauge how the daytime TV star stacks up with Republican incumbent Brad Wenstrup, Politics Extra has learned.

$1 Billion tax giveaway should be put in budget crosshairs, Suddes writes


To help balance the budget in the face of declining state revenues, Ohio lawmakers should eliminate a recently enacted small business tax break that’s costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year, writes columnist Thomas Suddes.

Toledo Mayor makes Paris Climate Agreement pledge


Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson pledged to fulfill the United States’ obligations under the Paris climate accord, joining hundreds of mayors nationwide who have vowed to uphold the agreement since President Trump withdrew from it.

“All of us have a part in addressing the issue of climate change and those factors that are adverse to our climate,” Ms. Hicks-Hudson told The Blade on Friday. “I do things not just for symbolism but also to show that it’s about commitment and true action.”

Youngstown Vindicator interviews DNC Chair Tom Perez


Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, accused President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice by trying to get then-FBI Director James Comey to halt an investigation into Russia’s ties to the Republican president’s campaign.

“When you see the mountain of evidence accumulating that Donald Trump attempted to get Jim Comey to put a fork in the investigation” into the “Russian government and the obstruction of the 2016 election, it’s very troubling,” Perez, a former assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, told The Vindicator in an exclusive interview Friday.