Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ohio Edition

Buckeye Institute News Alert - Some days ago The Buckeye Institute issued a report, Senate Budget Holds the Line on Spending and Embraces Pro-Growth Reforms, analyzing the Ohio Senate's initial version of the state budget.

The Buckeye Institute President Robert Alt praised the meaningful free-market elements included in the Senate draft: "The proposed budget maintained significant project labor agreement reform and held the line by rejecting anti-growth tax hikes on the oil and gas industry, and on the commercial activities tax. These provisions are essential to encouraging growth in Ohio."

Overall, the Senate version:
  • Embraces pro-growth income tax cuts across all brackets;
  • Maintains House language that offers meaningful project labor agreement reform that will increase competition in and lower the cost of many public construction projects;
  • Rejects raising the severance tax on Ohio's oil and gas industry;
  • Moves spending closer to The Buckeye Institute's recommended 3% annual growth than other versions of the budget;
  • Takes incremental steps toward a more rational education funding system;
  • Adopts recommendations from The Buckeye Institute to eliminate several unnecessary boards and commissions.
Although there are many pro-growth elements in the budget, some areas could be improved. For example, the Senate version includes a counterproductive tobacco tax increase; removes useful health care reform tools such as the creation of a health care cost-transparency database from the House version; and weakens a stronger House reform to the state's Controlling Board.

"The Senate proposal is another good step in the budget process, but there is no room for backtracking on key elements such as project labor agreements reform or maintaining pro-growth tax rates on key Ohio industries like oil and gas," said Greg R. Lawson, report co-author and Statehouse Liaison for The Buckeye Institute.

Senate Budget Report
The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions was founded in 1989 as an independent research and educational institution--a think tank--to formulate and promote free-market solutions for Ohio's most pressing public policy problems
Ohio State University paid $337,080 to former President E. Gordon Geethe year after he retired  - Ohio State University paid $337,080 to former President E. Gordon Gee the year after he retired, even as he became president of West Virginia University.  But Ohio State officials have said the deal actually saved the school $4 million. If Gee had retired instead of taking the West Virgina job, he would have received about $5.8 million in retirement benefits over the next five years.  Gee was one of 42 former presidents who remained on the payroll of campuses they led, according to information compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Gee will not receive any more money from Ohio State than what he received between June 2013 and July 2014, the period covered by the Chronicle, said Ohio State spokesman Chris Davey. The publication looked at ex-president's pay for the first time as part of its annual report of public college president compensation.  In many cases the ex-presidents were serving as professors or in advisory roles to the current leaders, the Chronicle said.
Editor's Note:  I think it might be worthwhile to reveiw some past articles on the subject of the cost of education and the cost of administration.

September 22, 2012 - OSUpresident expenses in the millions - Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee. Gee is the nation's highest-paid president. - E. Gordon Gee makes millions as president of Ohio State University, but a Dayton Daily News investigation found the university spends almost as much for Gee to travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600-square-foot mansion on 1.3 acres. Since returning to Columbus as the university’s president in October 2007, the 68-year-old Gee has pulled in $8.6 million in salary and compensation, making him the highest paid CEO of a public university in the country. But his expenses — hidden among hard-to-get records that the university took nearly a year to release — tally nearly as much: $7.7 million.......The Daily News investigation found the university spent more than $895,000 for gatherings at the Pizzuti House, the president’s mansion, between April 2008 and June 2011. That works out to be about $23,000 a month — a little less than the average cost of a wedding......
July 29, 2013 - Gordon Gee gets $5.8 million retirementpackage from Ohio State - Ohio State announced a $5.8 million retirement package for former president Gordon Gee. Gordon Gee's second term as Ohio State's president came to an end with his retirement; officially on July 1. A month earlier, Gee announced his decision to retire after some "self-reflection" during vacation....On Monday, the university announced a $5.8 million retirement package for Gee. The five-year contract includes a one-time payment of $1.5 million and an annual salary of $410,000. The deal also gives Gee a $300,000 annual grant for research on 21st-century education policy. When Gee announced his retirement in June, Ohio State board chairman Robert Schottenstein suggested that Gee, who holds a law degree from Columbia, might teach at the law school. He is now a full professor in the university's College of Law -- another aspect of his retirement package......
My Take - First of all this is just the tip of the iceberg but a good indication of why education is so costly and nothing has changed.  I published this article, "Student Loans: The Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost" on May 26th 2013.

On May 25, 2013 Daniel Doherty wrote an article titled, Last Dance With Sallie Mae, saying; “A new study shows that roughly 33% of millennials wish they never went to college.” He goes on to point out why; “Plainly put, since more than 50 percent of college students finance their educations with student loans -- graduating, on average, about $28,000 in the proverbial hole -- it’s easy to see why a plurality of young people wish, in retrospect, they had never attended college in the first place.” He points out the reason why. “Here’s an indication of how burdensome student loans have become:"
"Here’s an indication of how burdensome student loans have become: About one-third of millennials say they would have been better off working, instead of going to college and paying tuition. That’s a according to a new Wells Fargo study which surveyed 1,414 millennials between the ages of 22 and 32. More than half of them financed their education through student loans, and many say the if they had $10,000 the “first thing” they’d do is pay down their student loan or credit card debt. That’s no surprise when you consider student borrowing topped the $100 billion threshold for the first time in 2010, and total outstanding loans exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in 2011. Student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in the U.S. which stands at about $798 billion."
"Delinquencies are also on the rise. The number of borrowers who are at least 90 days late on student loan payments has jumped from 8.5% in 2011 to 11.7% today, according to a study by the New York Federal Reserve."
And it gets worse! He notes that “more than 50 percent of students who take out student loans in order to enroll at “four year for-profit schools” never actually finish their studies.” That doesn't surprise me at all since a large chunk of these kids shouldn't have been in some university in the first place. Not to mention how many stupid social agenda studies they offer that in no way can get them a job that will pay enough to pay off these loans. Even if they can get jobs in those arenas, which isn't likely
The ease of obtaining student loans is at the heart of many problems. First, it is the primary reason tuition rates are as high as they are. The more the government steps in to finance higher education the more the high education institutions raise the cost. When you take a look at what the 'adminsitrative and professional' people at Ohio State University are making a year you begin to understand. Let’s start with the Universities President, E. Gordon Gee. “Although Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee is paid a hefty salary, Gee’s salary was only the third highest in the country for public university presidents for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, earned slightly less than $1.9 million as his total compensation in 2010.”
On the financial chart provided by OSU regarding salaries he is listed as $775, 008 in 2008, $802,125 in 2009 and $802, 125 in 2010. As for “total compensation’ which may not appear on the chart; we may wish to wonder about others also. Between 2008, 2009, and 2010 Ohio State University paid a total of 252 salaries averaging $390,037.49 for administrative and professional personnel. Some were medical people, some were coaches, some were administrative personnel and some were teachers of some kind. Are they worth it?

I have to believe the medicine they are teaching must be competently and effectively performed, after all, that will have practical application that can be seen early on. But the question remains; are the costs out of line?
As for the rest; I don’t know, personally I doubt it, but there is no way to know except to end the constant spiral of rising costs by eliminating the constant spiral of student loans and grants generated by some government scheme designed to get more people into higher education. Once that happens we will see the true value of these people.
As for right now; it is my view that educators at the lower level are ineffective and overpaid based on the value of the product they are turning out. If they were making nuts and bolts they would be rejected by the manufacturers. I have to believe it is even worse in higher education, especially when I see the insanity they are teaching these kids today. They end up not only ignorant, but arrogant in their ignorance.
I would be willing to bet we could get that for a whole lot less money.

Medicaid changes could hurt severely disabled Ohioans - Family members of developmentally disabled Ohioans are warning against state efforts to shrink Medicaid-funded residential facilities.  Medicaid pays for more than 5,000 Ohioans who live in Intermediate Care Facilities where they have around-the-clock nursing care but are, according to nonprofit Disability Rights Ohio, “needlessly segregated.”  Disability Advocacy Alliance, a grassroots group formed in January, sees DRO’s focus on “community integration” as a threat to ICF residents — many of whom cannot walk or speak, cannot eat without assistance and cannot control their bodily functions….. “The Kasich Administration’s budget proposal would have resulted in thousands of individuals with profound intellectual and developmental disabilities and significant needs being forced from their ICF homes,”.......

Make-A-Wish wishes for $500,000 from Ohio taxpayers - SPECIAL FUND: Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana chapter says Ohio has a “wish gap” and wants public funds to help close it. Make-A-Wish is wishing for a half-million dollars from Ohio taxpayers. The charity says a “wish gap” in Ohio can only be closed if lawmakers grant an allocation in Ohio’s budget for wish-granting organizations. The state Senate inserted a $100,000 grant in the Department of Health budget with the stipulation that the recipient agree to match the public dollars with private donations. That’s less than the $500,000 that Make-A-Wish originally asked for, but the Senate plans to let Ohio taxpayers contribute to wish-granting charities via the state income tax form, if they wish…..
Jon Hyman’s Ohio Employer’s Law Blog
Beware The Chain of Fools - A software engineer rejected for a job by GoDaddy is suing the company for discrimination. Why does he believe that the company discriminated against him? According to USA Today, he read it in the email chain included in his otherwise vanilla rejection email.  The e-mail…, which appears to be sent from a group titled the “GoDaddy Recruiting Team,” begins with a tame form letter, explaining that Connolly had not been selected for a job as a mobile IOS developer. But the note he said he saw below it in the e-mail chain packed an unusual punch. It read, “about keith he’s great for the job in skills but he looks worse for wear do we really want an obeese (sic) christian? is that what our new image requires of us.”….
 Why don't discrimination laws protect everyone from abuse? - The Huffington Post asks the following question: Laws Protect Certain Classes from Workplace Abuse: Why Not Everyone?  It’s a valid question. The law only protects an employee from being treated poorly at work if he or she happens to fall into a legally protected category, which, on the federal level, includes race, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, and military status. Depending in what state one happens to work, these classes might expand to include sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.  The article goes on to argue that “federal and state employment laws should be developed to protect all … from workplace bullying and companies from allegations of unfair treatment via clearly defined expectations for acceptable standards of behavior.”  Here’s the problem with this argument. You can’t legislate being an asshole. The world is full of them, and no set of laws, rules, or regulation will stop this mis-behavior. All it will do is either create an environment in which it is too expensive for employers to employ anyone because of the increased risk and attendant costs associates with firing anyone, or create an environment in which an employer fears managing anyone because of risk that the managed employee will cry “bully” and sue…..
Legal marijuana remains off-limits in the workplace - It is likely that when Ohioans go the polls this November, we will have the opportunity to vote on whether to amend our state constitution to permit for the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Meanwhile, reports that business groups are concerned over certain language in the proposed ballot measure, which, if passed, would require employers to accommodate their employees’ use of legally prescribed marijuana for medical purposes. This language has employers questioning whether one could interpret the proposed amendment to mandate that employers permit certain employees to show up to work high, or, worse yet, use marijuana on-the-job. To this end, business groups have been closely watching Coates v. Dish Network [pdf], a Colorado Supreme Court case asking whether an employer must accommodate an employee’s lawful use of marijuana under that state’s laws….

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