08 July 2008

Local Freakonomics

Let me direct your attention to an informative op-ed by Kevin Osborne in the current CityBeat. Excerpts:

Hamilton County's newest Republican Party chairman must think voters have short memories or don't understand county government. Or both.

On his blog last week, GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou dusted off tired old cliches to warn his fellow true believers that the Democrat-controlled Hamilton County Board of Commissioners was going to raise taxes sometime soon.

When it comes to taxes, it was Republicans -- not Democrats -- who pushed two of the last three sales tax increases proposed by elected officials in Hamilton County... The local Republican Party endorsed all three tax proposals.

Let's remind ourselves of some other basic facts.

...Democrats hadn't controlled the commission since a brief four-year period, from 1958 to 1962. For decades before and after, it's been strictly GOP.

In fact, no Democrat has been elected treasurer, recorder or engineer since 1936. A Republican has been prosecutor since 1932. Not counting Pepper and Portune, just four Democrats have been elected to county office in the past 35 years.

What's the Republican stranglehold on county offices given the public? Hamilton County has the second-highest property tax rate among Ohio's 88 counties.

Hamilton County's budget crisis is caused by decades of bad policies that were shaped and pushed by Republicans. Now that tough choices are needed, Triantafilou is acting like a toddler caught by a parent standing over a broken cookie jar, pleading, "I didn't do it."

Given the chairman's dislike for new taxes, we expect a list of proposed cuts from the GOP's elected officials to flood the commissioners' mailboxes starting any day now.

Ha, fat chance. As long as the public keeps lining up at the trough oinking for more of what they like to hear, the GOP will keep feeding them. And yes, the same thing goes for the Dems and their acolytes. But, as Osborne is pointing out, the Dems haven't been the ones in the driver's seat around here.

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