Maybe the county commission should wait on hiking your sales tax

The State of Ohio and Counties like ours, are about to see the biggest windfall in ages thanks to today’s Supreme Court ruling that says online retailers can’t dodge collections in States where they have no physical presence:

Internet retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday (today).

Brick-and-mortar businesses have long complained that they are disadvantaged by having to charge sales taxes while many of their online competitors do not. States have said that they are missing out on tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that helped spur the rise of internet shopping.

On Thursday, the court overruled that ruling, Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, which had said that the Constitution bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales taxes unless they have a substantial connection to the state.

Source: Supreme Court Clears Way to Collect Sales Tax From Online Retailers – The New York Times

If the Montgomery County Commission still chooses to hike your sales tax, they should all be removed from office. The implications of this ruling will be gargantuan.

It will also be good news for local ricks and mortar retailers and independent stores who have built the cost of product shipping into their pricing already, and now don’t have to compete with “free shipping” and “no sales tax” for online retailers.

Tax more or spend less? Introducing Reconstructing Dayton

Reconstructing Dayton logoI’ve mentioned Reconstructing Dayton a few times before on this site. As of this writing, it has exactly 4 posts.

That will probably change now. Today, at the County meeting at 6pm to discuss the .25% sales tax increase, we’ll have a frank talk about the absurdity of all these local banana republics masquerading as cities, villages, townships- and sucking money out of all of our pockets for no good reason.

We have too many governments in Montgomery County. We have too many City Managers, economic development directors, police chiefs, municipal courts, street maintenance supervisors, you name it. And I’m not even going near the multitude of school districts, school boards and the mysterious Montgomery County Educational Service Center.

On top of that- we have tax levies coming out the wazoo. Two levies each for Human Services and Sinclair. Metroparks, the Library, local schools, it all adds up to paying for bureaucrats in triplicate.

If you’ve wondered why there hasn’t been much on Esrati.com for the last two weeks, it’s because we’ve been working away on www.reconstructingdayton.org where we’re working on identifying the costs and overhead caused by bureaucratic bloat. We’ve got someone working 20 hours a week, gathering data, tax rates, names of those in power, copies of contracts, annual billing statements, population of each subdivision- and working on creating a datamap of how much this insanity is costing us, the overtaxed minions of Montgomery County.

It’s set up as a 501(c)(4) so we can run informational ads at election time, telling voters which politicians actually will give support to working on ways to reduce the redundancy and cut costs- so a sales tax increase won’t be necessary. Because, if you understand the nature of sales tax- it’s a regressive tax that costs those with the least disposable income, the greatest percentage of their paycheck.

What would make more sense? A whole bunch of things. A flat income tax for all of Montgomery County, no matter where you live- township, city, village or under a bridge. Then, dole it out to each real jurisdiction, based on efficiency of delivering services. Take your payroll, divide it by people per square mile- or some such formula. Businesses wouldn’t have to spend a fortune trying to track payroll deductions- and employees wouldn’t be penalized for living in Brookville and working in Dayton (currently, they are paying 3.5% income tax- because Dayton raised theirs last year to 2.5% and Brookville stopped forgiving it all- and said you’ll pay 1% no matter where you work).

My first suggestion is to force Moraine to merge with someone. Anyone. Kettering should be their logical partner since their schools are merged. Jefferson Township schools- should become part of Valleyview or Dayton- or Trotwood, take your pick (if you’re smart- Valleyview), 340 students does not a district make.

In the meantime- pulling all this data together, building the databases and entering the data, will cost money. If you’re sick of taxes going up and government delivering less. Or if the battle of tax breaks to lure businesses from one municipality to another is leaving you as the last man standing with a tax bill (because you’re not GE), we’re here for you. Please consider making a donation to Reconstructing Dayton. Every little bit helps. We’ll also be looking for volunteers to help with data entry sprints and research. So please go and sign up for updates.

How many municipal courts and websites do we need?

 

Political Party Insiders overrule voters will, kicking judicial candidate off ballot for 2nd time

Alan Gabel is about to get a dear John letter from the Montgomery County Board of Elections. He was rejected in February for petition vagaries  (the judgeships are identified by their start date of term, he had the wrong date for the seat) from running for judge against Erik Blaine for Montgomery County Common Pleas court. The bar to get on as a Dem, 50 valid signatures. He then turned around and collected signatures, he turned in 3108 of them, from registered voters to run as an independent and turned in enough valid signatures (he needed 1459) to appear on the ballot.

However, the Board, made up of 2 democratic party  and 2 republican party appointees- decided that he couldn’t run as an independent, overruling the voice and will of the people, because he was “still associated as a dem.”

Note, judges names on the ballot appear WITHOUT party affiliation.

The democratic party insiders are running Montgomery County Juvenile Court Magistrate Gerald Parker against Blaine.

A three way race for judge is almost as unheard of as anyone challenging a sitting judge, except in their first race. Blaine was appointed by Governor Kasich to replace Michael Tucker, who won an unopposed race for a seat on the Second District Court of Appeals. This is his first election. Previously, he’d worked at Wright & Schulte since January 2012 and he’s the Chairman of the Greater Dayton Area Friends of the NRA according to the Dayton DayOld News. Blaine, a 2006 graduate of the UD Law School is a relatively young for a judge. (Full disclosure, my case against Dayton Metro Library is in his court)

Last time I looked at a voter lists just before the May 8 primary, it struck me that there are a lot more UNC (undeclared) voters than there were D or R, which begs the question, why don’t they have at least an equal voice on the Board of Elections. What’s worse, is that on election day- if there is a dispute, the tie breaker as designated in Ohio, is the Sheriff- which in this case, means the head of the Republican Party casts the deciding vote.

That the BOE is appointed, by people who are marginally elected (precinct captains of each party- like me) is one of the political travesties allowed in Ohio.

Alan Gabel should be allowed on the ballot, the voice of 2000+ voters should outweigh the decision of 4 political patronage partisans on the BOE.

Expect a lawsuit.

And, remember- you read this story on Esrati.com first. The Dayton Day-Old news won’t attribute who broke it.

 

County Veterans Service Commission Exec Director retires, job open

Herb Davis, retired from the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission last week and his position is posted.
The salary range is wide, and the potential contract long.
You must be a veteran, able to deal well with bureaucracy- and work under a board that doesn’t play well with others.

For those of you who don’t know what a Veterans Service Commission is, this job probably isn’t for you. The State of Ohio has one in every county- and it serves as a point of contact to deliver immediate assistance to veterans in need, helping them with housing, benefits, medical transport, and a host of other things. Money is set aside from the State to fund VSC’s based on population.

Montgomery County has played games with it’s VSC for decades, including the choice of board members, and the repatriating funds meant for veterans to the general fund. Even the lease of the office space in the old St. E’s is a political football.

This organization is ripe for fresh, enthusiastic, visionary new leadership, so if you have a love for veterans, are one yourself, and believe you can fight the county to allow you to do your job properly, please apply.

This organization could and should be a lot more active in our community- and serve a much larger number of veterans than it has in the past.

DeFries still on R primary ballot despite dropping out Mar 1

thumbnail of R primary ballot 0430 1R_Part2

Bill DeFries withdrew from the county commission race Mar 1. Why is his name still on the ballot

In just another epic example of the failure of parties endorsing in primaries, and boards of elections serving more as boards of (s)election in Ohio- Republican party favorite Bill DeFries will appear on the ballot on May 8 despite dropping out Mar 1.

It was a crowded race to begin with – former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell had thrown his hat in the ring after barely losing to Debbie Lieberman the last race. Former Miami Township Trustee Bob Matthews is running again, after losing to Judy Dodge last time. Newcomer DeFries had zero political experience yet was the party pick. Miami Township trustee Doug Barry is spending money like a house on fire to win the primary- always showing up on campaign materials with his much better half on all his campaign materials. She, btw is a democrat.

The winner of the primary will go on to face either Carolyn Rice or Walter Hickman Don Shaffer (thanks to Gary Leitzell for catching my mistake).

Full disclosure, I’ve done work for Leitzell and Matthews, through my company The Next Wave.

How DeFries name is still on the electronic or printed ballots 38 days after a withdrawal is a serious question. With print on demand solutions- there is no huge window for absentee ballot printing, and the county uses touchscreens for in person voting.

Considering the expense the BOE is willing to go to for special elections for a single candidate- usually caused by their selection processes, there is no excuse. Including DeFries name can only hurt the other newcomer to county races- Barry, which is no big loss. In my limited experience of meeting him, he’s not worthy of being elected dog catcher. His wife on the other hand is a sharp business person, running a private college turning out kids that are 100X more qualified to work than Sinclair in my field.