Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Dec. 22
Now that House Speaker John Boehner has failed to persuade enough members of his own Republican caucus to support a proposal that would have raised taxes on a relative handful of the highest-earning Americans, it is likely that President Barack Obama will need to look to the Senate to avert the fiscal calamity that's approaching like a runaway freight train. For the good of the nation, leaders there must rise to the challenge.
A week ago, it appeared that Boehner and the president were moving toward a deal that would increase revenues and rein in spending enough to avoid a series of massive, automatic and across-the-board tax hikes and expenditure cuts that many analysts fear will trigger a new recession....
But then Boehner abruptly stopped negotiating with the White House and focused on what he called Plan B, a budget package that would have raise taxes on Americans who earn $1 million or more a year. Presumably, he was trying to show Obama and other Democratic leaders that his caucus was willing to go only so far on taxes....
Since Obama and Boehner were within shouting distance of a deal to cut the deficit by $2 trillion over the next decade, there's at least a chance the president can now reach an accord with leaders of the Senate before serious damage is done...
It is imperative that all sides return to Washington after Christmas ready to prove that they can indeed negotiate, compromise — and govern.
The (Findlay) Courier, Dec. 22
There's nothing more important than creating a productive, safe learning environment for our children. But if parents are going to have some peace of mind when their children are at school, it will take more than just locking the doors.
The country was reminded of our schools' security shortcomings after the shooting last week in Connecticut, and schools are doing the right thing by reviewing security....
None of those measures, however, will necessarily prevent someone from entering a school if they are intent on doing so. One propped-open door or broken window could be enough.
While schools should implement changes that can further control access, that is only part of the solution....
It's not always easy to identify children with violent tendencies. It could be someone who was bullied or who has a bad home life. Or it could be someone like Adam Lanza, who apparently had little contact with others.
Parents, teachers and guidance counselors, and even other students, may be best positioned to spot behavioral or mental health issues that could lead to bigger problems....
Security must remain a high priority, but schools won't be safer by just buttressing the doors, keeping a gun handy and showing teachers how to shoot it. We all must work harder to identify those who may want to get into our schools for the wrong reasons well before they get their foot in the door.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec. 23
In the days since the latest massacre of innocents, public soul-searching and mourning have consumed us.
The "why" question has no easy answer. But finding answers will involve gun control, better mental health treatment and examining our broader culture that is numb to and accepts violence.
This is the time to make common-sense changes to our liberal gun laws. We banned the sale of assault-style weapons once. Why did we let that law expire? The problem didn't go away. Research found that the ban had a limited impact on gun crime, but noted that part of the issue was all the exceptions that were written into the law.
We should also close the loopholes that allow convicted felons and others who shouldn't possess guns to buy them....
The gun lobby will twist these common-sense measures into non sequiters about the Second Amendment, "freedom," and "taking our guns away." The NRA on Friday recommended adding armed guards at every school. But more guns and more fear is not the answer. Legislators and we, the community they represent, need to stay focused on the goal of making our communities safer.
Legal access to guns is essential; they can legitimately be used for self-defense. But assault-style weapons with high-capacity clips have no place in our homes and communities and should be banned.
Yet gun control, as tough as it will be, is the easier part of the puzzle. The harder step is an honest examination of our culture of violence.
The Ironton Tribune, Dec. 20
Anyone who doesn't pay attention to politics in Columbus may have overlooked Gov. John Kasich's recent proposal about the future of the Ohio Turnpike because, on the surface, it doesn't seem to impact southern Ohio.
But that couldn't be farther from the truth.
Kasich's innovative plan makes a lot of sense and could ultimately be the final piece of the funding puzzle needed to complete the Tri-State Metro Outerbelt, commonly called the Chesapeake Bypass.
The proposal nixes the long-rumored plan to lease or sell to a private entity the 241-mile turnpike, Ohio's only toll road, that is traveled by more than 50 million motorists a year.
Under the proposal the state would borrow about $1.5 billion by issuing bonds against the toll revenue and utilizing another $1.5 billion in local and federal funding. These funds would be used for statewide construction projects that are deemed to have a big positive impact.
It should come as no surprise that Republicans in the Legislature have heaped praise on Kasich's plan while Democrats cry foul. When considered objectively, it certainly looks to be a way to maintain government ownership of the highway system that is important to northern Ohio yet invest significant money into the rest of the state's infrastructure, something that will be very important for economic development and growth for years to come.
It's time both political parties get on the bus, so to speak, and drive this proposal forward.