- Associated Press - Monday, February 8, 2016

In a Feb. 1 editorial roundup that included an excerpt from a Columbus Dispatch editorial, The Associated Press reported erroneously on which Ohio school had a recent controversy over the costly remodeling of the president’s home. It was the University of Akron, not Kent State University.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Editorials from around Ohio

By The Associated Press

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 31

Ohioans support the state’s colleges and universities to the tune of $2.1 billion a year. In return for this investment, the legislature could assure taxpayers their money isn’t being wasted by passing a bill that would allow the state auditor to delve into whether spending on programs, people and purchases is appropriate and efficient.

House Bill 384, backed by Auditor Dave Yost and other fiscal experts, gives the auditor’s office authority to conduct higher-education performance audits. This would be in addition to the auditor’s routine financial audits, which safeguard against fraud and theft.

“A performance audit can be used to identify potential waste, leading to cost savings, better services and more-cost effective budgets,” said Rep. Mike Duffey, R-Worthington, who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster …

Such audits also could help to resolve controversies, such as one at University of Akron over the costly remodeling of the president’s home (while employees were being laid off) or OSU’s decision to lease its parking assets …

As this worthy bill advances, lawmakers should reject an amendment being floated to make auditor’s office pay for the performance audits, not the colleges …

Lawmakers should pass H.B. 384 to extend this opportunity to Ohio’s public colleges and universities and protect Ohio taxpayers.

Online:

http://bit.ly/1P9HKv1

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The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Jan. 30

As an estimated 200,000 Americans prepare to compete in or attend the 31st Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year, an unwelcome visitor has cast a pall over preparations for the world- acclaimed Games.

That intruder, the Zika virus transmitted via bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has rapidly morphed into an epidemic centered primarily in Central and South America with Brazil as its vortex …

World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan put the Western Hemisphere on high alert this week, noting the virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas. As a result, a committee of the WHO will convene in emergency session Monday to brainstorm an action plan to fight the virus and possibly declare it an international health emergency. Health leaders in the United States and around the globe should support that and other initiatives to reign in the virus and prevent it from becoming a global pandemic …

A more appropriate response would be for health leaders to work feverishly to minimize the likelihood for infection before the Games begin. Then visitors to Rio and other areas of potential Zika attacks should follow a strict regimen of preventive safeguards, caution and responsibility.

Online:

http://bit.ly/1RVFU6M

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The (Toledo) Blade, Jan. 29

With the old-fashioned company pension now an endangered species, what besides Social Security will support Americans in retirement?

For many, the answer is a 401(k). The retirement accounts are offered by employers, but workers decide how much money they want to save. The amount is deducted automatically from their paychecks on a pretax basis, meaning the savings are taxed only when later withdrawn from the account, typically during retirement. Workers have a say in how the plan administrator invests their savings, and employers have the option to contribute to their employees’ accounts.

Given these advantages, many Americans swear by their 401(k), but not enough get the chance to have one. Too often it’s because they work for small companies that can’t afford the accounts’ maintenance costs.

For that reason, President Obama will ask Congress, as part of his 2017 budget proposal, to make it easier for small businesses to provide 401(k)s …

Last summer a Federal Reserve Board survey revealed a shocking statistic: One-third of American workers have no retirement savings. Since there’s nothing Democratic or Republican about an empty passbook, lawmakers of both parties need to get behind efforts to help more workers save for themselves.

Online:

http://bit.ly/1P0uawg

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The Akron Beacon Journal, Jan. 29

Recall how the effort to strip Planned Parenthood of $1.3 million in state funds gained new momentum. Republicans at a the Statehouse leaped to condemn the organization after secretly recorded videos surfaced last summer purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials seeking to profit illegally from the sale of fetal tissue.

On Wednesday, the Republican majority in the Ohio Senate took the most recent step. It approved legislation barring any organization that performs or promotes abortions from receiving funding through the state Department of Health for programs such as HIV testing, cancer screenings and sex education. The House is expected to concur next month. The measure then would go to the governor for his signature.

The bill doesn’t name Planned Parenthood, but it is the target. It remains so even though the videos were exposed as the products of heavy editing and deception. A grand jury in Texas looking into the allegations against Planned Parenthood cleared the organization of wrongdoing this week …

Still, it is worth trying again, even with the governor preoccupied as he makes his presidential run. No doubt, he opposes abortion. At the same time, he talks about bringing opportunity to those in tough circumstances. That is the mission of Planned Parenthood, essentially, achieved through family planning. It provides health services that elevate lives, a mission the governor shares, and why he should veto this bill.

Online:

http://bit.ly/1KSvJIH

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