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Portman pushes for plan to hire long-term unemployed
Other morning headlines: Senate lingers over bill to standardize municipal income taxes; Concern over impact of negative Labor Department reports; Ohio college students take to the streets
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
and LAUREN SCHMOLL


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
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  • Portman pushes for plan to hire long-term unemployed
  • Senate lingers over bill to standardize municipal income taxes
  • Concern over impact of negative Labor Department reports
  • Ohio college students take to the streets
  • Alcohol suspected in fatal crash
  • I-76 reopens after truck overturns
  • Gas prices up this week
  • Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District considering new lease
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier sets box office records
  • Rare fish making a comeback
  • Portman pushes for plan to hire long-term unemployed
    Ohio’s Rob Portman is one of a group of senators looking to get people off unemployment and back into the workplace with the help of a new tax incentive for businesses. Portman wants businesses to get a tax credit that’s worth between $12 hundred and $96 hundred dollars for hiring people who have been out of work for six months or more. There would be special incentives for hiring certain groups of people, including veterans, ex-felons, and those who receive food stamps. Portman says 35 percent of all unemployed workers have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. That’s more than 3.7 million Americans. Portman is a Republican, but is teaming up with two Democrats to work the idea into an amendment to a tax credit extension bill. The amendment has passed the finance committee and should be taken up by the full Senate soon.

    Senate lingers over bill to standardize municipal income taxes
    The Ohio Senate is taking its time looking at a controversial bill aimed at bringing uniformity to Ohio's system of municipal income taxes. House Bill 5 was passed by Republicans in the House back in the middle of November, after months of debate. But the bill still has not had a hearing in the Senate. Lawmakers told the Columbus Dispatch there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes, and everyone agrees uniformity is important for businesses. Ohio is thought to have the most complex system of municipal income taxes in the country, saddling businesses that have multiple locations with arduous tax administration. While businesses want to see the bill pass, cities are afraid it will cause them to lose money.​

    Concern over impact of negative Labor Department reports
    For much of last year, it was thought that the Greater Cleveland area was losing more jobs than any large metro area in the country. Every employment report from the Labor Department showed worse news. But the annual revision released last month, showed a slightly different story. While the region was still struggling, things weren’t as bad as previously thought. In fact, instead of losing employment, the metro area was gaining jobs. While that is good news, many in the business community are frustrated. Team NEO works to spur business growth in Northeast Ohio. The group’s CEO told the Plain Dealer the Labor Department’s headlines may have hurt further growth for the region by making people less likely to take risks. Experts say it will be difficult to measure the actual impacts of the reports.

    Ohio college students take to the streets
    The warm weather this weekend inspired students at two Ohio campuses to take to the streets. Nearly two dozen police officers in riot gear dispersed an off-campus party involving University of Cincinnati students. Campus police responded to a call of nearly 500 unruly students close to campus shortly after midnight Sunday. Some of the partiers pelted the university's cruisers with bottles, breaking one mirror on one of the cars. That's when campus police called Cincinnati police. Twenty officers wearing riot gear arrived to the scene and broke up the crowd without further incident. No one was arrested. Meanwhile in Columbus, police responded to a fight and several trash fires at an annual campus party that attracts thousands. WSYX reports that an officer had to separate two people who were fighting and took one man into custody.

    Alcohol suspected in fatal crash
    Authorities say alcohol is a suspected factor in a fatal head-on collision in Cleveland. Officers says 40-year-old Julio Cesar Vargas drove the wrong way on an exit ramp of Interstate 480 on the city's west side and crashed into another car late Saturday night. Police say the passenger of the car that Vargas hit was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. Police have not identified them. Vargas was arrested on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular assault. Police say charges of drunken driving also are pending.

    I-76 reopens after truck overturns
    A stretch of I-76 was closed for much of yesterday when a truck overturned in downtown Akron. There were no injuries reported when the truck carrying recycled paper overturned around 1pm near the central interchange. The Eastbound lanes of I-76 remained closed until round 9 o’clock last night.

    Gas prices up this week
    Prices at the pump are up slightly in Ohio to start the work week. The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio averages $3.60 in today's AAA survey. That's up about 4 cents from a week ago, and 5 cents higher than last year at this time. Experts say gas prices tend to go up as spring arrives and level off around Memorial Day.

    Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District considering new lease
    A natural gas drilling company from Colorado wants access to nearly 67 hundred acres surrounding Piedmont Lake in Ohio. The Beacon Journal reports the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is negotiating its fourth lease for drilling in three counties: Belmont, Harrison and Guernsey. The lease would be with Antero Resources, a company that already has one lease agreement with the district at Seneca Reservoir near Cambridge. The proposal is being fought by the grassroots Fresh Water Accountability Project, which says a lease could affect nearby reservoirs and hurt property values. The district says safeguards would be put into place to protect surrounding land. No terms have been finalized for this lease, and comments from the public can be submitted through April 17th.​

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier sets box office records
    A Hollywood action film partly shot in Cleveland has broken box office records on its opening weekend. The filming of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,”  tied up large parts of Downtown Cleveland and the West Shoreway during shooting last spring. All of that was forgotten at the movie premier in Cleveland last week. This weekend the film brought in a record $96.2 million at theaters around the country.

    Rare fish making a comeback
    A rare fish is seeing a resurgence in the state of Ohio, and experts say that’s a sign of improving waterways. The Columbus Dispatch reports the bluebreast darter has made a tremendous comeback over the last 15 years. The bluebreast and variegate darters were virtually gone from the Tuscarawas River because of pollution. Now, it’s cleaned up and the fish are back. Still, you might not see them. The fish are only 2 to 3 inches long and are easy to miss. ​


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