The Cleveland Plain Dealer

For the more than 160 workers then employed at the plant, for the city of Brooklyn, Ohio, and for the Cleveland areas storied history of garment-making, the arrival in 2015 of a high-end men’s suitmaker to take over the closing operations of Hugo Boss AG in Brooklyn was fortuitous.

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The acquisition was greased by generous grants — $150,000 from the city of Brooklyn to retain and create jobs and payroll; a $420,000 economic development grant from JobsOhio, also apparently tied to job and payroll goals; and an offered $650,000 Cuyahoga County loan, which a county official told reporter Olivera Perkins the company never completed the paperwork on.

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With Keystone’s Jan. 10 "WARN Notice of Plant Closing" to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services — informing the state of its intention to close the plant no later than March 11 and lay off all the 140 workers now employed there — the city of Brooklyn has determined that Keystone will be in default of those terms.

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But what of JobsOhio’s grant? Three weeks after Keystone’s formal WARN letter to the state, JobsOhio still won’t say whether it will seek to claw back all or some of the $420,000 grant.

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Ohio citizens deserve to know, at a minimum, how JobsOhio frames job-creation and retention requirements in its grants and how it enforces those requirements.

Online: https://bit.ly/2D4knFG

The Star Beacon

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A February 2017 report from the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research looked at 26 years of incentives in 33 states. Since 1990, tax breaks have tripled — in 2015 alone the total amount of incentives given to businesses nationwide was $45 billion — but when it comes to keeping companies the results are "statistically insignificant," according to Slate.

So if businesses are going to prioritize other things, such as the workforce, and studies show incentives don’t have a tangible effect on where businesses locate, state and municipal leaders across the country need to ask an important question — what is the point?

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Changing the system would require a major shake-up that extends far beyond a few counties or even states. What is needed is a national, or at least regional, moratorium on these wild monetary incentives big businesses might not even need.

But there is still a place for a public-private partnership. Instead of tax breaks, what would make more sense is a system focused on worker training and workforce retention programs. As we saw with Amazon, workforce issues are driving most business decisions. Ultimately, a well-trained workforce is a more valuable drawing card than any tax incentive.

Online: https://bit.ly/2UHrF9O

The Columbus Dispatch

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Insurance can be expensive, and we don’t condone drivers skirting state law, which requires a minimum coverage level of $25,000 for personal injury and property damage.

But suspending a driver’s license for failure to show proof of insurance coverage and then charging a reinstatement fee on top of other requirements for getting driving rights back makes it just that much harder for financially struggling drivers to comply.

That’s why we applaud the Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative enacted last year by the Ohio General Assembly to offer a six-month window for those who have lost driving rights to win them back at a bargain.

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Applications for amnesty will be accepted through July 31, but if helping poor drivers who need transportation to work is a good idea for a six-month amnesty opportunity — and we agree it is — perhaps a more permanent option for avoiding discriminatory fees is better.

State lawmakers should use the amnesty period to figure out longer-term options to help low-income drivers meet insurance requirements without putting roadblocks in their path — including an 18-month wait that smacks of piling on.

Online: https://bit.ly/2G8H9Al

The Toledo Blade

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Anti-vaccine sentiments are not new. Most people have heard the objections of vaccine doubters who fear that inoculating their children can cause myriad health problems, including autism. Science has disproven these concerns just as science has shown that immunizations are not only safe, but necessary.

But for years, public health authorities have sought to persuade and inform these parents rather than mandate that they immunize their children. The time for that should be over.

Washington and Ohio are two of just 18 states that allow parents to opt-out of immunization for personal reasons. Health authorities have warned that disease outbreaks are on the rise in 12 of those states.

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States routinely allow parents to opt out of vaccines on religious grounds. Laws also allow exemptions for children whose fragile health does not permit them to be vaccinated.

It is for those children — as well as the elderly and others with compromised health — that everyone must be properly vaccinated. The herd immunity created when large portions of a population get vaccines protects those people who cannot be safely inoculated.

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Ohio and other states that have allowed such exemptions must reform their vaccine regulations for the good of all.

Online: https://bit.ly/2BntNw5