- Associated Press - Monday, May 15, 2017

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

The (Findlay) Courier, May 12

For nine years, a free tax-preparation program has been offered in Hancock County that has saved low- and middle-income families the expense of filing their federal income taxes and increased their returns.

It has also paid big dividends to the community as well.

During this tax season alone, the service, offered through the United Way of Hancock County and various other agencies, saved residents $391,827 in filing fees and allowed filers to receive $2.1 million in federal income tax refunds through their returns.

The benefit of the program extends even farther, though, considering many of those dollars will end up being spent on goods and services in Hancock County. …

One of the goals of the free tax-preparation program is to make sure all eligible tax filers take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The effort was launched in 2008, after it was determined many eligible for the EITC do not claim it. When EITC funds go unclaimed, it means that communities miss out on millions of dollars that would have otherwise generated economic activity and growth.

The results showed again this year that the tax service remains a great value for all who can use it. Kudos to the United Way and all the other supporters which make it possible.




The (Martins Ferry) Times Leader, May 12

A contribution to the Belmont County Major Crimes Unit could not have come at a better time.

On Wednesday, the Belmont County Board of Commissioners presented a check for $50,000 to the unit, which includes the Belmont County Drug Task Force as well as representatives of all county law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor’s office. Commissioner Mark Thomas said the money was drawn from a portion of the county’s General Fund that is not specifically earmarked for any single purpose.

It seems that the decision to give the money to the crime unit is a wise one, in light of the fact that a murder was committed in Bellaire on Sunday. While such a contribution may not be effective in preventing any single crime such as that fatal shooting, it can help to battle conditions that lead to crime in general.

Sheriff David Lucas and Prosecutor Dan Fry accepted the check and discussed the major crimes unit and its work. Lucas said the county’s police chiefs meet monthly to share information and work out issues and problems, and he noted that illegal drug activity is one of their biggest concerns. …

Thomas said local governments, such as municipalities, cannot afford to pay their public safety forces to work beyond their general duties. The funds provided by the county will help defray some of those costs. …

We are fortunate to live in an area where law enforcement agencies can collaborate for the greater good of the entire region. Commissioners are right to support such efforts whenever they can.




Akron Beacon Journal, May 13

On Tuesday, Donald Trump made the kind of decision that defines presidencies. He dismissed James Comey, the FBI director who was leading the investigation of the Russian intervention into the presidential election - and whether Trump associates colluded in the effort. One of the most striking aspects of the letter the president sent to Comey goes to the lies, or at least the requests that readers accept the wholly improbable.

At this grave moment, the president couldn’t resist his penchant for trading in whoppers.

The president claimed to act on the recommendation of his attorney general and deputy attorney general, something quickly amplified by White House aides. Yet just days later, the president admitted he made up his mind about the firing before the recommendation arrived. He didn’t act out of dismay for the way Comey violated Justice Department policies in handling the matter of Hillary Clinton’s email as secretary of state. Or that Comey lost the confidence of the bureau work force. As he acknowledged, the president had in mind bringing an end to the Russian investigation. …

… PolitiFact has reported that fewer than one in five of his statements are “true” or “mainly true.” Sometimes the falsehoods are amusing, such as his claim last week that he authored the phrase “priming the pump.”

Mostly, the cascade risks damage to the quality of the debate and the work of governing, no small factor when the public must be informed. How else to view the outrageous lie about Barack Obama wiretapping his phones? Or the contention that 3 million voted illegally for Clinton last fall and now a commission forming to study the hollow allegation?

The president launched his political career on shameless lies about Barack Obama’s birth. He still won’t face the truth about the size of his inaugural crowd. The hope long has been that the president would rise even somewhat to the occasion, proving less the boy and more the statesman, that he would accept the obligation to prepare and become informed.

… What would be helpful now is for him to stop lying, grasping some dignity from the truth.




The (Youngstown) Vindicator, May 15

… In a mostly party-line vote, the U.S. Senate last Wednesday rejected a Trump initiative to scrub a responsible rule requiring cuts in dangerous methane-gas emissions at gas and oil drilling sites on public lands. The rule was implemented in 2016 by Trump’s archenemy, former President Barack Obama.

That rejection represents the one and only loss for the president among 13 Congressional Review Act resolutions that he has steamrolled through Congress and into law so far this year. Many of them have taken straight aim at environmental safeguards, including those tied to coal pollution, land management and financial disclosures for drillers. …

The methane-waste prevention rule aims to limit venting, flaring and leaking of methane, - ,the main component in natural gas, - from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands. Had the rule been repealed, methane that traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide, would flow more freely - as would its documented health hazards to the masses. …

… Trump’s Interior Department is likely to try to repeal the rule itself through internal administrative procedures. Efforts to undo similar methane regulations that cover drilling on private lands also is being targeted by the new administration. EPA Director Scott Pruitt has delayed implementation of those regulations while his agency assesses their impact on businesses.

Those and other threats mean Congress and the American people must remain vigilant. …





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