Editorials from around Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The (Toledo) Blade, April 22

A sweepstakes parlor, or Internet café, gives away chances to win prizes with the use of Internet access. Ohio has more than 800 such mini-casinos….

Defenders say Internet cafés are benign businesses that create jobs. Critics call them pernicious, claiming they exploit old and poor people and escape regulation. Profits from these places often seem to wind up in the hands of Ukrainian gangsters.

A better question might be: Are Internet cafés legal? Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says they are not. He has launched a crusade against the cafés, creating a special unit to work with state and local police to investigate and shut down these enterprises.

Mr. DeWine says he is empowered by a recent state appeals court ruling that held that some cafés are simply illegal gambling houses, or fronts for them….

Last month, the Ohio House passed legislation that would cap prizes at Internet cafés at $10 and outlaw cash giveaways. That would probably shut down most of the cafés. The state Senate is in no hurry to take up the bill.

But neither Mr. DeWine nor the justice system is waiting for the General Assembly. Last week, a grand jury in Cuyahoga County indicted 11 people who operate Internet cafés on charges of racketeering and money laundering….

In essence, Mr. DeWine is doing our lawmakers’ job for them. But he is also doing his own job: protecting the public from fraud. Good for him.

Online: http://bit.ly/15A3uOf

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Warren Tribune Chronicle, April 18

Gov. John Kasich’s proposed education budget takes money from countywide educational service centers, such as the Trumbull County ESC.

The proposal may not be such a bad idea because it shifts the money to local school districts that would then have a choice about whether to purchase ESC services a la carte.

Overall, according to the state’s Office of Budget Management and Legislative Services Commission, 56 percent of Ohio students reside in a district that would receive increased state funding. That’s not bad for a state that two years ago had a projected $8 billion deficit and a mere 89 cents in its rainy day fund.

Educational service centers receive money to provide programs to schools that do not have enough students in need of those programs to make it cost effective to provide them on an individual basis. A good example is the deaf education program that the ESC houses in Champion. No district in the county has enough deaf students to afford the program, but the ESC can provide it for many districts.

The governor’s proposal would give each district an opportunity to choose which ESC services they want. They would then pay for those services only. In addition to increased choices for local districts, this would also motivate the service centers throughout the state to improve since they now have to sell their programs.

Online: http://bit.ly/11v3yL8

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The Cincinnati Enquirer, April 19

Weeks like the one we just lived through can make it seem like the world is coming apart.

On Monday, a perfect day for distance running, two homemade bombs turned a day of celebration into a day of violence.

On Tuesday, we learned about poison being sent through the mail to the president, a senator and a judge.

On Wednesday, an explosion destroyed a small town in Texas.

On Friday, we awoke to images of an overnight shootout and a manhunt for the Boston terror suspects.

An awful feeling of déjà vu washed over us, echoes of 9/11, anthrax and the Oklahoma City bombing, which happened 18 years ago Friday….

The violence and drama this week pointed up shortcomings and strengths of the people we count on to protect us and look after the public interest.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a common-sense protection against the unregulated sale of guns….

Weeks like this one, one day after another when the world feels like it’s coming unglued, remind us of how much we depend on each other, on the proper working of our institutions and, yes, on government, for our safety and well-being….

When the nation returns to debating budget cuts, sequesters and entitlements, let’s remember this week and how dependent we are on are on our neighbors and the people we appoint, elect and pay to watch out for the greater good.

Online: http://cin.ci/XR4CbG

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The Ironton Tribune, April 16

When it comes to fixing Ohio’s public education funding system, it appears the biggest challenge may be getting a straight answer about the actual impact of proposed changes.

When Gov. John Kasich announced his two-year budget proposal earlier this year the Republican touted that it would level the playing field between wealthy and less affluent school districts and address the overreliance on property taxes, a concept long declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court….

Now, the Ohio House has created its budget proposal for public education funding, claiming that it increased funds to most of the state’s schools. Yet analysis by multiple groups and organizations seem to dispute that.

The exact amount of cuts are still to be determined and depends how you look at the information released. The number could be between $80 and $300 million less than Gov. John Kasich’s plan.

Of course, the final funding plan may look completely different after it gets reconciled with a Senate proposal and goes to the governor.

Public education funding is a vital part of both the state budget and Ohio’s future. We urge lawmakers to focus on this now, finally at least starting down the path toward a fair educational system for every Ohio student regardless of where he or she lives.

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