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Columbus tries to lure Democratic Convention to the Buckeye State
Other headlines: Charter school operator accused of keeping payroll taxes; Mahoning Valley arts group wants to use cigarette tax for funding

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
  • Charter school operator accused of keeping payroll taxes
  • Mahoning Valley arts group wants to use cigarette tax for funding
  • Ohio House considers expanding drunk driving restrictions
  • OU president owes $19,000 in residency taxes 
  • Columbus tries to lure Democratic Convention to the Buckeye State
    Now that Cleveland has been selected to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, officials from both parties are pushing for Ohio’s capital to host the Democratic convention.

    Hosting the Democratic Convention in Columbus could balance a Republican boost in the swing state of Ohio, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

    Both Governor Kasich and his opponent Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald are joining Columbus business leaders in efforts to lure the Democrats.

    Columbus would need to raise an amount similar to the $60 price tag Cleveland is paying to host the Republican convention.

    Kasich’s private jobs creation agency JobsOhio has pledged $10 million to both efforts.

    Charter school operator accused of keeping payroll taxes
    A Cleveland area charter school operator is under federal indictment for keeping nearly $300,000 in payroll taxes at four daycare centers he operates.

    Joel Friedman is accused of withholding taxes from employees at his Bass Lake child care centers but did not pay the money to the IRS between 2008 and 2011.

    Earlier this year Friedman pleaded guilty to stealing $400,000 from Greater Heights Academy, a charter school he operates in Cleveland Heights. 

    Mahoning Valley arts group wants to use cigarette tax for funding
    A group of arts supporters in Youngstown want what Cuyahoga County has -  a cigarette tax to fund arts projects in the Mahoning Valley.

    The Youngstown Business Journal reports that Power of the Arts is promoting a change to the state law that only permits the Cleveland area to fund an arts and culture district through the cigarette tax.

    Voters would first have to approve the tax.

    Earlier this year County Executive Russ Pry floated a similar proposal for Summit County.

    Ohio House considers expanding drunk driving restrictions
    Lawmakers in Ohio are considering stricter measures to keep drunk drivers off the road.

    A bill pending the Ohio House would allow judges to place ignition breathalyzer locks on the cars of first-time offenders, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

    Currently the ignition locks that measure blood alcohol levels before a car can be started are required for people convicted of two DUI’s within six years.

    Backers of the bill, known as Annie’s law, after a Chillicothe lawyer killed by a drunk driver in 2013, say it will reduce highway deaths.

    Critics say the proposed law raises due-process questions for first-time offenders who plea-deal for a lesser charge.

    A driver must register a blood-alcohol content of less than .025 — less than half the .08 limit to operate a vehicle.

    The devices cost roughly $80 per month.


    OU president owes $19,000 in residency taxes
    Trustees at Ohio University have stepped in after the Internal Revenue Service said the school's president must pay taxes on the free, on-campus lodging provided for him.

    An ongoing IRS audit of OU found that President Roderick McDavis should pay taxes on his free residency in the 7,000 square-foot university-owned house in the heart of the Athens campus.

    The university's board of trustees voted last month to cover the unexpected cost of about $19,000 in federal, state and local taxes for this year. The university is also going to cover the taxes on McDavis' term life insurance, which the audit also said was taxable.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio State and at least five other universities own their presidents' residences, and their leaders are still living tax-free.


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