Gov. Bob Taft proclaimed March as Mental Retardation Awareness Month. But Lucas County taxpayers should be aware that Governor Taft has, in his proposed budget, cut 4.1 percent of the funding to 12 state-run developmental centers.
Who will then pick up the support costs to these persons made homeless by his cuts? Perhaps Lucas County property owners. The governor will then be successful in cutting his budget, and property owners will again have to pick up the slack.
The governor also stressed that persons with disabilities should be afforded full access to housing, employment, and leisure activities.
Sometimes these services are best provided in one of the developmental centers. Developmental centers offer specialized residential opportunities for persons with extreme behavioral challenges. These persons come from all over the state and country. This should make it a state responsibility.
I suggest Governor Taft is the one who should become more aware.
BETTY J. JOHNSON
North Westhaven Road
Ohio's budget battle is heating up and there is concern that the fight for increasing school funding may cause “collateral damage.” The biggest line item in the state budget belongs to the Ohio Jobs and Family Services. Formerly known as the Ohio Department of Human Services, this is the agency that pays for the services provided to 80 percent of Ohio's elderly long-term care residents. Governor Taft has directed his staffers to cut $250 million from the long-term care program because he needs the money for education.
At the same time the governor wants cuts, there are several bills under consideration asking Ohio lawmakers to enact legislation seeking minimum staffing standards and action to fill the thousands of full-time employment vacancies in Ohio nursing homes. Each proposal carries a high price tag at a time when the governor wants to cut the program.
For years Ohio nursing homes have been doing fantastic things with the resources available. Governors have come and gone with their visions for Ohio. But this time our governor inherits a 10-year legal cloud that won't go away easily. His education mandate is to expand and redistribute Ohio's resources in a fair and equitable manner.
It's unreasonable to expect a governor to solve a problem like this in one budget cycle. If that is what he intends to do he will solve one problem at the expense of others.
The stakes are high. Ohio nursing homes and the residents in them are dependent upon the state for funding. Staffing and quality are always the highest priorities and they have a price tag. Continuing to meet the expectations of those we serve will always be the goal. The outcome of the budget battle will decide if the goal remains within reach.
JOHN JAY STONE
Extended Care Facility
I am sure most Ohioans were surprised when they did this year's income tax to find they owed sales tax on many purchases they made through catalogs, over the Internet, or while traveling out of state. According to the information provided by the Department of Taxation, a 1936 law requires us to pay tax on these purchases. Sixty-four years later, the state has decided it is time to start collecting that money.
We are told to add up all such purchases we made, and calculate the tax we owe. I don't know if the average person keeps receipts for every purchase they make and files them for future reference, but I know that I do not. I have no such records, and haven't a clue how much I owe.
Even if I did have such records, I question whether this tax is a good idea. It greatly increases the record-keeping burden on taxpayers. And in the case of items purchased while traveling, this would be in addition to sales tax other states collected, meaning the tax on many items would double! Not only that, but in order to enforce the law, the government would need to have access to records such as credit card purchases and checking account receipts. Although I have nothing to hide, I still am not comfortable with the government watching every purchase I make, and accessing records showing where and how I spend my money.&tab;
I really believe the reason this law has not been enforced in the past is because it is a bad law. If legislators are concerned about lost tax revenue, then let them come up with a tax law that is acceptable to the people, one that does not require burdensome record keeping or invasion of consumer privacy. This law is bad news for everyone.
It's great to feel the warmer weather coming and to see neighbors getting out of the house, taking walks, and working around the yard. Along with these opportunities to get outdoors comes our concern for persons with Alzheimer's disease. These individuals could very easily become disoriented and lost.
Over a course of two to 20 years, Alzheimer's disease destroys a person's ability to remember, to judge, to reason, and to care for themselves. Nearly 60 percent of the 4 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease may become lost sometime during the course of the disease, and may do so repeatedly. Informing your friends and neighbors about your loved one's condition and securing your home and yard are great ways to keep your loved one safe, and the Alzheimer's Association also has a special program to help.
“Safe Return” is the only nationwide identification program for people with Alzheimer's disease who become lost, and has registered more than 52,000 people. While the program cannot prevent individuals with Alzheimer's disease or dementia from becoming lost, it can assist law enforcement officials nationwide in identifying individuals when they are found. The registration process is simple and inexpensive.
There are many other programs and services such as adult day care, support groups, and professional and family education programs available through the association. Anyone facing the challenges of Alzheimer's disease is encouraged to call the Alzheimer's Association.
Northwest Ohio Chapter
After just a short period of time, the conservatives have taken this country and world by storm. Here the great aggressors have attacked the labor force, through laws and executive orders.
They have displayed their ability to destroy environmental guidelines; the good for the one over the good of the many.
Conservatives continue their one-sided protection of the profiteering elite. The conservative discussion on tax relief for the lower class is really tax relief enabling the elite to constrict and confine the growth of industries. It will encourage downsizing, hostile takeovers, and more deregulation, which does not promote competition but eliminates stable prices and job security.
Once again the profiteering elite is creating and ensuring the two-tier society.
STANLEY F. LEWANDOWSKI
Some people are thinking about taking soft drinks and junk food away from schools. I think that's just wrong.
Some people think it's not healthy for kids to have junk food and soft drinks, but it should be the kids' choice. They could get all these goodies at home, so what's the difference if they get them at school, too?
One reason schools should sell junk food and soft drinks is because school can get kind of boring. When you've been sitting in a classroom for a long time, you get restless and want junk food. Also, when you've had a long day, you might want to enjoy a pop.
Adults are always bossing kids around. This is one issue kids should have a say in.
Fassett Middle School
Can you spell `basketball'?
Sadly, many of today's athletes earning millions playing basketball can't spell it.
RICHARD K. MORGENSTERN