Boosting, Falling, Helping, Thanking

- January 9th, 2014
   

In our latest eNews: Ohio’s minimum-wage boost, new limits on the state’s homestead exemption for seniors, job loss, federal emergency unemployment benefits, and the War on Poverty at 50. And last but not least, a shout-out to our supporters.

Boosting - Ohio’s minimum wage went up 10 cents to $7.95 an hour on New Year’s Day, an increase that will boost consumer spending by $38 million. Voters wisely approved annual increases in 2006, benefitting some 330,000 this year. We could help workers and the economy more if Congress passed the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would set the federal minimum at $10.10 and adjust it annually.

Focusing - New eligibility limits on Ohio’s homestead exemption for seniors kicked in this month, meaning that those turning 65 will qualify only if annual income is $30,000 or less. We recommend additional steps to focus the property-tax break on seniors who need it most.

Falling - Ohio’s loss of 12,000 jobs in November puts the state’s year-over-year growth rate at 0.4 percent even as jobs grew by 1.7 percent nationally. Stay tuned: Later this month, we’ll be looking at final 2013 numbers.

Helping - The expiration of federal unemployment benefits on Dec. 28 leaves just one out of five unemployed Ohioans with jobless benefits, as low as it’s been in any year over the past 30. This week the U.S. Senate squeaked past a filibuster and continued debate on a three-month fix, but prospects in the House are uncertain. Contact your member of Congress now and tell them to hold a vote to extend unemployment insurance benefits.

Remembering - The 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty gives us a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come. Without government benefits, today’s poverty rate would be 29 percent; with those benefits, the rate falls to 16 percent using the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. We can and should do much more to reduce poverty – and many recent policies head in the wrong direction – but it’s frightening to take stock of where we’d be without our safety net.

Thanking - You gave us our best year ever for individual donor support. Thank you so much for responding to our Facebook, email and postal requests.