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OPINION June 29, 2015

Poll Results
Poll Results
Poll Results in June 25, 2015 Plain Dealer

The need to need
That's an answer with one more word than the typical response I get from my teenage son. It was sufficient enough, however, to know what he meant.

I had asked him what he was looking forward to most during his summer break from school. He has four buddies among his "squad," and what he wants to do most in these dog days of summer is "hang out" with them, which is pretty much what he wants to do most the rest of the year as well - just spend time with his friends.

Many of us can relate. We are social creatures after all. There is something deep inside of us that longs to connect with others. That need for connection is one of the reasons why we live in communities.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hoosier communities should watch their economic development spending
Local governments in Indiana spend tax dollars on many goods and services that make our lives better. Police and fire protection, roadways and other infrastructure, parks and amenities comprise the bulk of this spending.

As in most states, the single largest piece of spending is our local public schools. We may argue about the right size and scope of this spending, but the need for these things is not at issue.

Quietly hidden from the watchful gaze of most taxpayers is the second largest expenditure - traditional economic development. In 2015, Hoosier cities and counties will spend about 1.5 billion dollars on tax abatements, tax increment financing (TIF) and direct economic development expenditures. That is more than they will spend on fire, police and parks combined.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

If you knew how many calories are in that sandwich, would you still eat it?
Not long ago, my husband showed up with a sandwich for lunch that he bought at a local supermarket. I thought it was going to be our usual: turkey and provolone with lettuce on a hard roll, always plenty for both of us. At $6.50, how could you go wrong?

This time the sandwich was different. It now cost $9.50 and was piled high with turkey and cheese on a roll that was much bigger than what we were used to. In short, it was awful - enough meat and cheese for four people on squishy bread that tasted more like a morning sweet roll. But the bigger serving probably looked like a good deal to a lot of people who thought only about size relative to cost and nothing about size or cost relative to calories.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The way forward for Congress
There have been encouraging signs on Capi­tol Hill of late that Con­gress's long slide into irrelevance may be slowing.
Agreements on Medi­care reimbursements in both houses, and on Iran, No Child Left Behind, Pacific trade and other issues in various committees led in the last few weeks to a chorus of relieved approval both in Washington and in the press.
Less noticed, but equally important, a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center found that Congress worked more during the first quarter of this year than the past few years, and that the amendment process in the Senate is once again functioning as it's supposed to.
But let's not go overboard. Major challenges lie immediately ahead, chief among them how Congress handles the budget.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Payday loans sickening for everyone
Payday lenders target low and moderate-income people, advertising a quick, easy loan to help make it until the next payday.
In reality, payday loans begin cycles of chronic indebtedness.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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