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Brinkman, Mallory: Save library funding

State Rep. Tom Brinkman and state Sen. Mark Mallory may be at the opposite end of the political spectrum, but on at least one issue they agree: Save library funding.

Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, attended a public forum held by Mallory, D-West End, Wednesday at the library's main branch to express his opposition to the proposed 5 percent state funding cut to libraries.

Mallory, a candidate for Cincinnati mayor, encouraged the 80 people in attendance at the forum to tell their legislators they would rather save library funding than get an income tax break.

Gov. Bob Taft's tax reform plan would cut personal income tax rates by 21 percent over fives years.

Mallory said for Ohioans in the $70,000 income tax bracket, that amounts to $89 per year, or a quarter a day. "Keep my money, save my libraries."

Brinkman, considered a possible GOP candidate for Cincinnati mayor, said he also opposes Taft's plan to cut personal income tax rates. "In reality, it's going to result in more taxes at the local level."

He told the group his problem is not just the proposed cut, but also the library-funding freeze that preceded the past four years.

Mallory encouraged library supporters to pressure Senate President Bill Harris and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. John Carey to eliminate the proposed 5 percent cut in library funding from the proposed state budget.

He also encouraged the public to send letters to the editor and opinion columns to local newspapers and call into local talk radio shows.

If the 5 percent cut to libraries passes, the Cincinnati and Hamilton County library system would fall short of what it needs by $18.7 million next year.

The library's board of trustees has asked the state for $64.6 million for the next fiscal year.

The board has discussed closing the main branch on Sundays to save money, but that plan drew loud protests from library supporters Wednesday.

Any further discussions about closing branches or reducing hours has been put off until the Legislature passes a budget, which is expected to happen by June 30.



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