Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Paradigms and Demographics: Ohio Edition

Buckeye Institute News Alert
September 30, 2015
(614) 224-4422

The Buckeye Institute Praises Legislative Study Committee Recommendation to Freeze Alternative Energy Mandates
COLUMBUS, OHIO--The Buckeye Institute's energy policy expert today praised a special legislative committee's recommendation that the General Assembly indefinitely freeze Ohio's renewable energy and energy efficiency mandates.

However, the free market think tank expressed serious concern about Gov. John Kasich's statement that he might not support the recommended freeze on the alternative energy mandates, also known as Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards.

"Ohioans would experience higher energy prices and weaker economic growth if these mandates remain," said Joe Nichols, the Institute's William & Helen Diehl Energy and Transparency Fellow. "The government should not be picking winners and losers, which hurts Ohioans who can afford it the least -- poor and middle class families, minorities, and those who live on fixed incomes. Reintroducing mandates also makes it more difficult for companies to create jobs in Ohio."

On the governor's indication that he may not support the committee's recommended indefinite freeze, Robert Alt, President and CEO of The Buckeye Institute, said: "We shouldn't return to the policy mistakes of the Strickland administration by embracing another costly government mandate."

The energy mandates force Ohio utilities to buy increasing amounts of renewable energy and implement energy efficiency programs. The bipartisan, bicameral Energy Mandates Study Committee heard testimony from The Buckeye Institute about how these mandates negatively impact the state's economy and energy production.

Taxpayers fleeing Ohio, IRS report shows

Posted by   September 30, 2015 @ Ohio Watchdog

Watchdog graphic
Watchdog graphic
EXODUS: Ohio had a net loss of over 33,000 federal taxpayers
and their families as a result of migration between states in 2011 and 2012
During Gov. John Kasich’s first two years in office, state-to-state migration shrank Ohio’s economy by more than $2.2 billion.
Ohio’s population dropped by a total of 33,000 in 2011 and 2012 as a result of taxpayers voting with their feet, based on the latest Internal Revenue Service data.

State-to-state migration was a net drain of $1.2 billion on Ohio’s economy in 2011 and $1.1 billion in 2012. Almost 24,000 fewer IRS returns were filed in Ohio in 2013 than in 2011 as a result of Ohioans moving to other states.

Ohio’s net population and income losses resulting from state-to-state migration were both the nation’s seventh-worst in 2012.

A net loss of taxpayers in the early years of Kasich’s first term signals a serious problem for the state, since Ohio’s private-sector job growth has slowed since 2011. A rebounding economy has produced increasing tax revenues, but it’s only a matter of time until the next downturn.

RELATED: Ohio lost interstate migration battle again in 2014

Greg Lawson, a policy analyst for the free-market Buckeye Institute, said it’s normal for some Americans to move between states in any given year. That doesn’t mean policymakers shouldn’t be concerned about losing taxpayers to other states.

“The problem is that Ohio is failing to grow jobs and opportunities at a fast enough rate to keep many in the Buckeye state,” Lawson told Ohio Watchdog. “Ohio needs further tax reforms at both the state and local level and is in desperate need of regulatory and labor reform.”

Ohio’s high local tax burden is due largely to state-level policies. The Buckeye Institute and others have called for an overhaul of Ohio’s convoluted municipal tax system and laws giving expansive power to labor unions.

“Everything any level of government does that makes it harder to start a new business is a problem and contributes to an exodus of our best talent,” Lawson said.

Losing federal taxpayers to other states means fewer potential customers and job creators in Ohio, and a smaller tax base to bear the growing costs of state government.

The IRS tracks state-to-state migration for Americans who pay federal income tax by comparing Form 1040 filings from one year to the next. The agency’s most recent migration report analyzed tax returns filed in 2012 and 2013 to see where taxpayers moved in 2012.
Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Colorado and North Carolina had the biggest net migration gains in 2012. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Illinois and New York were the biggest net losers.

With the exception of Colorado, the five biggest winners in the interstate migration battle were states where right-to-work laws protect workers from mandatory union dues.
Ohio and all five of the biggest losers were forced-unionism states, where workers can be required to pay a labor union in order to have a job.

Ohio’s losses were big gains for the economies of several other states. The five states with the largest net income gains from Ohio in 2012 are listed in the following table.
StateNet gain in Adjusted Gross Income from Ohio, 2012
Florida$382 million
South Carolina$117 million
North Carolina$105 million
Texas$90 million
Arizona$62 million
The IRS report noted southern states benefited the most from state-to-state migration in 2012, but Ohio was a net loser of residents and income to Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, too.

The Republican For People Who Hate Republicans - “Tax hikers, social liberals, and failures — those three groups make up the core support of Kasich’s base.” ……John Kasich worked very hard to steal Jeb Bush’s donors. The only donors he could possible steal after his performance are the suckers looking to be taken advantage of by swindlers. Kasich is running a Jon Huntsman campaign, complete with Jon Huntsman’s team. It is a race that tries to portray him as the grown up, sophisticated person in the room…… In the Huntsman campaign, he was a source of division who was accused of attacking his own candidates after their campaigns fell apart. Now he is running Kasich’s campaign and he’s running the same playbook as before. He and Kasich will run to the left, drip with condescension over the rest of the Republican field, play “dad” to the arguing children, and win heaping spoonfuls of praise from the media. Along the way, they will sucker donors out of dollars, lose the race, and get a great TV deal……

Ohio economy falling behind right-to-work neighbor Michigan - Ohio's ability to outperform Michigan's long-term job growth has been a silver lining around a cloudy Ohio economic recovery for years. No longer. Since December, Ohio's private-sector job growth rate is 0.2 percent, Indiana's is 1.5 percent, and Michigan's is 1.8 percent. Michigan and Indiana are both on track to create more jobs than Ohio does this year, despite having far fewer residents. [continue reading]

YMCA seeks exemption from Ohio sales tax - Two Ohio legislators don't think the YMCA should have to charge sales tax on its memberships. (Read more)

Are Ohio's food stamp work requirements racist? - Welfare spending advocates are up in arms over Ohio's use of food stamp work requirement waivers, calling the waivers unfair and even racist. (Read more)

Ohio unemployment rate doesn't tell real story - Not everyone is thrilled with Ohio's 4.7 percent August unemployment rate - and a look at the numbers that make up the rate explains why. (Read more)

Ohio Medicaid spending is skyrocketing under Gov. Kasich
Ohio Gov. John Kasich's presidential poll numbers may not be climbing much, but Ohio's Medicaid costs certainly have. (Read more)

Ohio Supreme Court orders re-write of marijuana amendment
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that language for a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana is misleading and must be re-written. (Read more)
By John Hyman of Myers, Roman, Friedman and Lewis
The ADA protects employees with disabilities? But what about its anti-retaliation provision? Does an employee have to be “disabled” under the ADA for the statute to protect that employee from retaliation? According to Hurtt v. International Services, Inc. (6th Cir. 9/14/15), the answer is no.
Hurtt worked at ISI as a senior business analyst, earning a yearly draw plus a percentage commission on sales. The day after he requested FMLA-leave for (job-related) anxiety and depression, ISI terminated his draw and switched him a commission-only comp plan. He sued, claiming, among other things retaliation for requesting various accommodations for his disability, including requests for a leave of absence and for a reduced work schedule.
The 6th Circuit reversed the trial court’s dismissal of Hurtt’s retaliation claim, holding that the mere act of requesting an accommodation is sufficient to raise the specter of retaliation, regardless of whether the employee is actually “disabled”:

We have held that requests for accommodation are protected acts…. Hurtt argues that he engaged in protected activity when he requested a reasonable accommodation and when he took FMLA leave…. But, the pertinent inquiry here is not whether Hurtt proved he had a disability under the ADA, or whether ISI had specific knowledge of Hurtt’s alleged disability, but rather, whether Hurtt showed a good-faith request for reasonable accommodations.

The takeaway here is more common sense than law. If Title VII can protect a white guy from retaliation when he complains that his black co-worker is being mistreated, the ADA certainly should protect an employee requesting a reasonable accommodation, whether or not a court determines after the fact that he is, or is not, legally “disabled”. Employees who request accommodations should always be treated with care; otherwise you risk stepping on a retaliation landmine.
Is Digital Shunning Illegal Retaliation?
Wired tells the story of an Australian tribunal, which ruled that an employee was illegally bullied at work, in part because a co-worker had unfriended her on Facebook.

Transfer this case to America, and assume that the employee is claiming retaliation based on the unfriending. Supposed Employee-A complains to HR that Employee-B is sexually harassing her, and, as soon as Employee-B finds out about the complaint, he unfriends Employee-A on Facebook. Does Employee-A have a claim for retaliation based on the unfriending?
The answer is likely no.
As a matter of law, an adverse action sufficient to support a claim for retaliation merely must be an action that would dissuade a reasonable worker from complaining about discrimination. Yet, the Supreme Court has stated that the adversity to support a claim for retaliation must be “material”, and that petty slights, minor annoyances, or a simple lack of good manners normally will not count:
We speak of material adversity because we believe it is important to separate significant from trivial harms. Title VII, we have said, does not set forth “a general civility code for the American workplace.” … An employee’s decision to report discriminatory behavior cannot immunize that employee from those petty slights or minor annoyances that often take place at work and that all employees experience…. It does so by prohibiting employer actions that are likely “to deter victims of discrimination from complaining to the EEOC,” the courts, and their employers…. And normally petty slights, minor annoyances, and simple lack of good manners will not create such deterrence….

A supervisor’s refusal to invite an employee to lunch is normally trivial, a nonactionable petty slight. But to retaliate by excluding an employee from a weekly training lunch that contributes significantly to the employee’s professional advancement might well deter a reasonable employee from complaining about discrimination.

Thus, an ostracism or shunning from a social network—one that serves no work-related purpose other than fostering congeniality among co-workers—likely should not support a claim for retaliation.

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