March 28, 2013
The executive budget for fiscal years 2014-15 expands Medicaid, a huge help for communities and families. The proposal also directs more funding to schools, but this boost is complicated by how the funding is directed, by increased funding for charters, and by new voucher programs.
The Kasich administration’s budget would also provide large tax cuts for the wealthy and continues what has become a tradition of dramatically reducing funding for health and human services. The budget should instead restore safety net services for the growing number of children in Ohio living in extreme poverty. In time, Medicaid expansion will provide more jobs and benefit local economies. Right now, social services and local government need restoration. Cities across the state are addressing budget shortfalls by curtailing services, furloughing emergency personnel, privatizing public functions and hiking fees. This can hurt quality of life and property values on the local level, as well as increasing costs in ways that hurt middle- and low-income families – for parking, for private pools when the public pools close, for street lights.
More Ohio students need to go to college, yet diminished financial aid and high tuition make that difficult. Over time, state support of higher education as a share of the budget has dropped by a third. Decreasing investment in the engine of the future – a highly skilled workforce – works against necessities needed to drive economic development. Tax cuts do not boost economic competitiveness, but they do take revenues needed for that kind of investment.
All Ohioans have something at stake here: whether we worry about what’s going on in our kids’ classes, ship our goods on public roads and bridges, enjoy a bicycle ride or a walk in the park, call the fire department when a smoke alarm goes off, park in a city lot, are helped by a health care aide in our home or visit an aged parent in a nursing home. We all are supported by the services of the state. We all have something at stake.Other sections: Executive summary Introduction Expenditures Medicaid expansion Other health and human services K-12 education Higher education Local government Tax policy