Brothers and sisters...it is official. The Republican party simply cannot help being evil. Not only can they not help it, they've stopped trying to even hide it anymore.
Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann’s plan for plugging a shortfall in the cash needed to pay for the Cincinnati sports stadiums: cut health care to the needy.
The Republican commissioner’s plan, provided to the Enquirer Friday, drew immediate criticism from University Hospital and at least one other commissioner.
But Hartmann argues his is the only fix that won’t raise taxes.
Here's the thing: Hamilton County has an Indigent Tax Levy which is exactly what it sounds like; a tax that goes to patients in need who cannot afford health care and long hospital stays. Main recipients are University Hospital and Children's Hospital Medical Center, with funds also going to Tuberculosis Control, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, etc. Good things. Things that are needed in a country where there is no national health care solution. This is a valuable safety net for the most vulnerable among us.
Oh, but I here you out there saying "well what about the poor football and baseball players?" Well yeah, Hamilton County's Stadium Fund is BROKE
Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, is facing a $13.2 million 2010 deficit in its stadium fund, which pays off debt for the Paul Brown Stadium, home of the National Football League's Bengals, and the Great American Ball Park, where Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds play. The deficit could balloon to $92 million by 2014.
County finance officials for years have warned that the fund could run out of money...The county has tried twice since 2006 to raise the sales tax from its current rate of 6.5%, but voters have rejected both efforts
The fund was created with a half-cent tax increase voters did approve in 1996, when times were good. However, even then, you had your basic lone voice in the wildnerness.
"Anyone looking at this objectively knows it’s a train wreck," said Dusty Rhodes, the county auditor. "I told them they were making a big mistake, but they didn’t want to hear me."
So now has come the proverbial "pay the piper" moment, and of course, we get the usual GOP Reverse-Robin-Hood response: take from the poor, give to the rich.
Oh, one other note: The Bengals (who, unlike the Reds, did not offer up naming rights to their stadium, something that might have offset operations and building costs) have offered up $40M in lease concessions, but those proposals came with a shitload of strings attached.
Back to Hartmann:
Hartmann is sympathetic to the hospital’s plight, but points out the stadium fund is an obligation that must be paid, while helping pay for indigent care is a "non-essential" expense.
Wow. This guy was born with the wrong damn last name. No-Hartmann would be a better sobriquet. Dick Cheney read about this and got a warm, fuzzy, feeling. What kills me is this guy is exactly the same douche who will run for governor or the Senate one day and start talking about "protecting the unborn" and flacking his religious bonafides.
By the way, much thanks from the fine site Field of Schemes (dedicated to information about how sports owners
soak the taxpayers of municipalites five ways from Sunday er, find creative ways to finance new stadiums and arenas.