Friday, June 04, 2010

There But For The Grace Of God Go I

Greg Hartmann, where do you get off?

The GOP Hamilton County Commissioner has a brilliant idea. Just brilliant. He wants to simultaneously raise your taxes, cut funding to indigent care at University Hospital, and funnel more money to Cincinnati’s professional baseball and football stadium.

As the recently deceased Gary Coleman would say, “Whatchu talkin’ bout, Willis?”

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Hartmann’s plan involves an elimination of the property tax rollback. As a tradeoff for that hike in taxes, he’d cut by 45 percent a levy that supports care for the poor at the Tri-State’s largest trauma hospital.

That $22 million elimination shakes out another $6 million that can go to those concrete albatrosses around our collective necks.

I think this is an appropriate juncture to say, “What the fuck?”

Hartmann tells the paper that, though this is a tough decision, the county is obligated to pay for the stadiums, whereas Ohio’s biggest cities don’t shell out to local, private hospitals.

That doesn’t make it right though, does it, Greg?

Let me just state for the record that I am not a homeowner. I guess my 2001 Saab 9-3 can be considered property, but it surely doesn’t generate the tax revenue that a condo/home/business would.

What I do know about is people in need.

As I’ve stated before on the blog, I work for a major non-profit in Cincinnati. I’ve have the privilege of meeting people first hand whose lives have changed thanks to the assistance they’ve received from  programs invested in by my employer. I’ve had the opportunity to see real, community change happen in emerging neighborhoods.

I’ve been exposed to people weathering a real, tangible personal crisis.

Health care (whether trauma or otherwise) is one of the most essential, basic qualities we all need to live a good life. And that means this community must have a place where people can access that health care.

It’s a no brainer, really.

Good health care equals healthy person who has the opportunity to improve his or herself.

This person can go on to become a valuable employee in Greater Cincinnati, maybe even someday a homeowner and small business entrepreneur.

Heck, maybe this person can build a little nest egg and go on to invest in other people who are struggling to make ends meet and rise to their own personal success.

And it all starts with healthcare.

If Hamilton County doesn’t make the investment in the kind care that our neediest deserve, then it’s turning its backs on all of us.

I am one paycheck, one unexpected personal crisis away from relying on indigent care. The truth is, many of us are.

Don’t turn your back on me, Greg.

Don’t turn your back on all of us.

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Phineas Delgado said...

I'm with you in spirit, but I don't see an alternative, at least not right away.

Hamilton County is the only Urban county in Ohio that gives money to hospitals for indigent care. Neither Franklin nor Cuyahoga counties do it, and their hospitals don't seem to suffer for it.

That said, the money owed for the stadium is an obligation and must be paid no matter what and ends up being tax neutral for home owners (according to the Enquirer anyway).

We got screwed on the stadiums a long time ago and our children's children will be paying for it.

Anonymous said...

This is like Mr. Berding going after panhandling.

You're right, gentleman, panhandling and indigent care are not the solutions to the problem.

However, if you are willing to give us some proactive solutions to the problems of homelessness, poverty, addiction and alcoholism, mental illness, economic downturns, low educational levels, gender inequalities in education and income, etc. etc. etc...

I sure will be happy to listen.

*crickets chirping*

Nope, thought not.