The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on December 17, 1992 · Page 21
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 21

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Thursday, December 17, 1992
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Page 21
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METRO NEWS: 768-8600 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1992 SECTION B Ohio vot e today on tax hike oiise THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COLUMBUS, Ohio: The House Finance Committee recommended passage Wednesday night of a bill raising taxes to ease Ohio's budget deficit and allocate funds for capital improvements across Ohio over the next two years. The 20-10, bipartisan vote cleared the way for a House floor vote today. The bill would raise nearly $193 million to help balance the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and provide an additional $849 million in revenues in the 1993-1995 biennium. Fifteen Democrats and five Republicans voted for the bill, which is already under study in the Senate in anticipation of a possible floor vote Friday. Five Democrats and five Republicans on the House committee voted against it. Gov. George Voinovich and leaders of both parties were successful in persuading the committee to keep the proposal intact, after having negotiated its provisions in private this week. All but one of about a dozen panel amendments made corrective or other non-substantive changes in the bill. At the administration's request, the committee deleted a provision imposing the public utility tax on natural gas purchased outside the state from pipeline brokers or other non-utility sources. Tax Commissioner Roger Tracy said it was learned that the tax could create an undue burden on steel companies and other major employers that have increased out-of-state purchases in recent years to cut costs. The deletion reduced the bill's revenue yield by $10 million for the first six months of 1993 and by $53.1 million in the state's next two-year budget period. All other amendments made minor adjustments in the capital improvements bill, which appropriates slightly more than $1 billion for a long list of construction and renovation projects. the floor. Riffe had said he would keep the bill in the committee until he had a commitment for about 20 of the 38 GOP votes in the House. Riffe said a majority of his 61 Democrats will support the bill. Sweeney's committee heard daylong testimony on the proposal. Witnesses included Budget Director Greg Browning, who warned of "destructive" spending cuts unless the taxes are approved. Browning pointed out that the administration already has implemented $600 million in cuts over the past 18 months, reducing services, including education, to "the bare bone." Most projects are at state-supported colleges and universities or facilities owned by state agencies although about $124 million is for community projects, such as theaters, museums and development projects in the state's larger cities. House Finance Chairman Rep. Patrick Sweeney, D-Cleveland, said the bill apparently has enough support from members of both parties to assure bipartisan passage in the House. He said Speaker Vern Riffe, D-Whee-lersburg, gave him the green light on the bill, indicating he had been assured by Voinovich and others that a substantial number of Republicans would support it on Walking a different beat New checks food sellers on t 1 J i J ...... ypr ftp wmr '; ' a. ' 'hM"q ,f are developed Chief sanitarian's transfer part of inspection changes ....An j.-fr. 11. -- if 7T H 14 f'iil.lli)inill "" IsaWJaow""- BY RICHARD GREEN The Cincinnati Enquirer Under fire for reported shortcomings in the city's food-inspection unit, Cincinnati Health Commissioner Dr. Stanley Broadnax said Wednesday a comprehensive plan to revamp and restore faith in the way the city inspects restaurants is in the works. Broadnax refused to disclose details, saying he would unveil his plan later this week or Monday. But The Enquirer has learned the first move was made earlier this week when chief sanitarian Lowery Clark, the supervisor who heads the food-protection unit of the board of health, was told he would be transferred to other duties. "I can't talk too much about it because I might get too emotional," Clark said Wednesday, before his 14-person staff honored him with a going-away lunch. "Let's just say we did not agree on techniques and processes." Broadnax refused to discuss Clark's transfer. Concern about the performance of the city's food-inspection unit was sparked last week in a report issued by the city's internal auditor, Greg Hanfbauer, to city council members. In it, he raised questions about the food-inspection unit's training and supervision, as well as diligence in tracking health violations and handling repeat violators. These and other shortcomings in the unit might be allowing unsanitary conditions in city restaurants and food-service operations, Hanfbauer said. Clark, a 20-year sanitarian and head of the unit since January, said last week that diners at Cincinnati restaurants were not in jeopardy, but "the process could work a little (Please see FOOD, Page B-6) The Cincinnati EnquirerJim Callaway Jeff Dektas of the Boone County police department helps James Walters, 7, lace a new pair of shoes Wednesday morning at Kmart on Burlington Pike in Florence during the sixth annual "Shop with a Cop" program. The program paired 21 children with officers from the Florence and Boone County police departments, plus the Boone County Jail and Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division for a shopping spree at the store. Donations from civic groups allowed each child to have $200 to spend. Worker-safety policies missing, city finds tossing trash containers. The Internal Audit Division report calls for a new program that includes a specific goal in reducing safety claims and analysis of the injury data the city has. It also recommends that the city negotiate with its union to limit the circumstances for carrying an injured employee on city payroll. The seven recommendations are supported by the Office of Environmental Management, which oversees the existing employee-safety program. Richard Mendes, Environmental Management director, acknowledged that the city "has to do a better job on the injury rate itself." For the first seven months of 1992, the Public Works Department accounted for about 34 of the payments in the city's injury-with-pay category "by far the highest of all the city agencies," said department Director George Rowe. The majority of all injuries and of disabling injuries came within Public Works' highway maintenance and sanitation divisions. Rowe said his department is trying to determine high-risk employees and is trying to improve training programs. For instance, it wants a hiring process for sanitation employees that includes a practice session on lifting and vided policies when asked to by the audit division, and field investigations indicate that some safety programs that were on paper were never implemented. Last year, the city reached an all-time high in the number of disabling injuries to employees (631), the number of personal injuries (1,572) and the number of vehicular accidents (845). Between 1989 and 1991, the city's total cost for injuries, vehicular accidents and workers' compensation totaled about $25 million. A city program to inspect safety efforts in departments was "more random than systematic," with no evidence of a schedule for improvement, benchmarks, compilation of statistics or analysis. In many cases, injuries could have been avoided or less severe if protective equipment had been worn as city policy dictates. . In May, the Internal Audit Division began its report, and three months later, City Manager Gerald Newfarmer zeroed in on improving safety in the three departments most prone to employee-safety hazards: Public Works, Safety (which includes police and fire) and the Metropolitan Sewer District. Simultaneous with the audit, Public Works was the first of the three departments to issue its self-analysis and safety strategies. BY JEFF HARRINGTON The Cincinnati Enquirer Despite a 3-year-old employee-safety program, the city has failed to curb employee injuries and traffic accidents, underscoring the need for a new program, an internal audit concludes. The report released Wednesday by the city's Internal Audit Division describes participation in the safety program as "neither well-coordinated nor uniform." Among the problems, according to the report: Some departments have not developed safety policies as they were instructed to do in 1989 or are not following them. Only three of eight departments pro Commissioners honor ex-President Reagan Panel urges voucher plan for schools BY DICK KIMMINS Enquirer Columbus Bureau COLUMBUS, Ohio: A special study group appointed by Gov. George Voinovich recommended on Wednesday that Ohio implement a school-voucher program in which parents use public funds to send their children to private or parochial elementary and secondary schools. Voinovich praised the 29-mem-ber group's work during the past eight months, and pledged to give the recommendations "serious review and consideration." Voinovich endorsed school vouchers as a major part of his education platform during his 1990 campaign. But the final decision rests with the Ohio General Assembly, which must pass legislation to set in motion the voucher program envisioned by the study group. The "Plan A" recommendation by the Governor's Commission on Educational Choice parallels a voucher program already pending in the legislature and sponsored by Rep. Mike Fox, R-Middletown. The commission plan envisions a pilot program, in which students in all grades are given the opportunity to transfer to private schools beginning in the 1988-89 school year. Two large urban districts would participate in the pilot. The Cincinnati Public Schools would be one of the six urban districts in Ohio eligible, but not required, to participate. Under "Plan B," only first-grade students would be allowed to offset private elementary-school tuition with state funds. There would not be any limit on the number or type of (Please see SCHOOLS, Page B-6) New highway to be named for him Message from Reagan Here is the text of a message sent from former President Reagan to The Enquirer: "There she be!" and everyone was applauding and smiling ear to ear. I looked around some more and didn't see anything. I did ' k5"' not know what to do, but f5aJ -VI wantinq to be a aracious guest, I smiled, too. Then someone whispered into my ear to look above me, and there it was: a sign reading "The Ronald Reagan Pub." BY RICHARD GREEN The Cincinnati Enquirer Cincinnati already has honored Pete Rose, Ezzard Charles and Ruth Lyons. Now make room for former President Ronald Reagan. Hamilton County commissioners Wednesday agreed to rename the unfinished Cross County Highway the Ronald Reagan Highway. "I thought it was a good thing to do," said Commissioner John Dow-lin, who introduced the resolution to hqnor Reagan's "legacy, leadership and ideals." Dowlin and his fellow commissioners, Steve Chabot and Guy Guckenberger, are Republicans. Reagan, the 40th president, ruled the White House from 1981 to 1988. In his 1980 and 1984 elections, Hamilton County was a stronghold of voter support. Reagan now lives with wife Nancy in Santa Barbara, Calif. Those against the name change can express their opinions at a January public hearing. It's likely, however, that the official name change will occur in February. Dowlin's resolution passed unanimously, but another Hamilton County official, Auditor Dusty Rhodes a Democratic nemesis of the Republican board of commissioner questioned the move. "Far be it for me to detract from a tribute to a president, but it seems a little much," he said. "Usually honoring local people who serve a community seems a bit more appropriate. I'm just curious whether or not this means our commissioners will recognize people from both sides of the political fence." Only 10 miles of the 15-mile Cross County Highway is finished. Hearing the news of the new Ronald Reagan highway reminds me of a story. At my age, everything reminds me of a story. A few years ago Nancy and I were traveling in Ireland, which is where some of my ancestors came from. In addition to visiting the capitol, which is a requirement when you're president, .! asked our people to arrange a little visit to Ballyporeen, the village where the Reagan family had its origins. When we got there, the townspeople were very warm and friendly They told us that they had a great surprise in store but wouldn't reveal what it was. As we toured the small town, they were almost bursting, and to tell the truth, I was getting a little anxious, too. Finally, someone told the secret: They had named a building after me I was thrilled and kept looking and looking ahead for what I assumed would be some magnificent structure. I kept looking and looking and finally, we stopped walking. Our host said, Reagan Don't get me wrong I'm very proud of that pub, and I know what an honor it is. But I must admit when I thought of something being named after me, I was thinking more along the lines of a building or a highway! I'm honored and touched by the news and pleased to be associated with the city of Cincinnati. Thank you all.

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