Lackluster job growth in March

by Policy Matters Ohio on April 18th, 2014

Ohio added only 600 jobs in March. This suggests that Ohio continues its trend of painfully slow job growth, even as a separate ODJFS survey showed continued improvement in the state’s unemployment rate. (more…)

Fracking brings good and bad to Ohio county

by Policy Matters Ohio on April 10th, 2014
For immediate release
Contact Amanda Woodrum, 216.361.9801
Download press release (1 pg)
Full report

Study examines impact of drilling on economy, housing, traffic, key services 

Shale development is changing the economy, environment and culture of Carroll County, Ohio, and other communities around the state, according to a study released today by Policy Matters.

“It’s a complicated story,” said Amanda Woodrum, report author and Policy Matters researcher. “Whether fracking ultimately helps or hurts the local economy will depend on whether the money stays local, where the gas is refined, who gets the jobs and business, and what the costs are to the community, the environment and public health.” 

The study found that:

  • Fewer jobs than promised are being created, with many going to out-of-state workers;
  • Some companies doing drilling-related work in Carroll County are buying local and landowners are spending signing bonuses in the community, leading to a 31 percent increase in sales tax receipts in the county (an indicator of increased economic activity);
  • Increased truck traffic on roads not built to handle heavy loads and big trucks is causing wear and tear and a higher rate of accidents;
  • Rents are rising, becoming unaffordable for some residents;
  • Increased economic activity is boosting local government revenues.

“Overall, the economic benefits of fracking fall far short of what was promised and come with costs to safety, the environment and the community,” said Woodrum.

The report recommends a stronger severance tax, in keeping with that of other drilling states. “Ohio should increase its severance tax to 5 percent and use the revenue for industry oversight and regulation, and for covering community costs,” said Woodrum.

Other recommendations outlined in the report include putting in place additional taxation with revenues set aside in Ohio’s Advanced Energy Fund; forming local taskforces to identify issues, consider solutions, and open dialogue; better state monitoring of water quality and other environmental health issues; new pollution control requirements; and policies to require local hiring for fracking-related jobs and provision of health insurance. “Ohio should also diversify our energy portfolio to be less reliant on fossil fuels in the future,” said Woodrum.

The Carroll County study is part of a larger effort by the Multi-State Shale Collaborative, of which Policy Matters is a member. Other Collaborative members examined the impact of shale drilling in Greene and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania and Wetzel County in West Virginia.


Staff photo April 2012

by Policy Matters Ohio on April 2nd, 2014

Policy Matters staff – April 2012

Front row, left to right: Kalitha Williams, Tracy Moavero. Second row: Pam Rosado, Amy Hanauer, Amanda Woodrum, Wendy Patton. Third row: Hannah Halbert, David Rothstein, Shanelle Smith. Back row: Tim Krueger, Zach Schiller, Piet van Lier. Not pictured: Sybille Schomerus.

Staff/intern photo March 5, 2012

Calling for a regional frack tax: An open letter to three governors

by Policy Matters Ohio on March 10th, 2014

We write today to urge that our states — Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia — take a common, regional approach to taxation of gas and oil at the state level, by adopting a severance tax rate on fracking no lower than that of West Virginia, without holidays, exclusions and credits, and with a similar tax base across all products yielded from a well. (more…)

Cleveland wraparound schools discussions

by Policy Matters Ohio on March 3rd, 2014

On Thursday, March 13, Policy Matters Ohio is hosting two panel discussions at the City Club of Cleveland, 850 Euclid Avenue.

United Way of Greater Cleveland has partnered with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to develop wraparound strategies in 17 low-performing schools. Wrapping community support around academic environments has proven successful in other communities and it is the first time this innovative strategy has been implemented on a large scale in Cleveland.

Noon: Cleveland Wraparound Schools: Implementing the Plan

Piet van Lier, Policy Matters Ohio communications director and education researcher will moderate a discussion, from a policy perspective, about the opportunities and challenges this kind of initiative presents, and how a community-centered approach to improvement can transform Cleveland schools. Participants are:

  • Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland school district;
  • Bill Kitson, CEO and president of the United Way of Greater Cleveland;
  • Martin Blank, president of the D.C.-based Institute for Educational Leadership and director of the Coalition for Community Schools;
  • P.G. Sittenfeld, assistant director of Cincinnati’s Community Learning Center Institute and member of Cincinnati City Council.

4 pm: Cleveland Wraparound Schools: Voices from the Field

Piet van Lier will moderate a second panel to consider, from an educational- and community-partner perspective, the opportunities and challenges of a community-centered approach to school improvement in Cleveland. In addition to Martin Blank and P.G. Sittenfeld, the participants are:

  • Katrina Hicks, principal at H. Barbara Booker School in Cleveland;
  • Cassandra Washington, wraparound school site coordinator at Mound Elementary School, with lead agency University Settlement;
  • Dawn Glasco, Promise Neigbhorhood ambassador in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood.

Click here for reservations.

Proposed income-tax cuts would favor wealthy

by Policy Matters Ohio on February 13th, 2014
 For immediate release
Contact Zach Schiller, 216.361.9801
Full report
Download press release (1 pg)


Poor and middle class would get little benefit, analysis finds

New income-tax cuts of the sort favored by Gov. John Kasich would heavily benefit Ohio’s most affluent taxpayers. An across-the-board cut that would reduce the top rate below 5 percent – a target for Gov. Kasich – would give low-income Ohioans just enough each year to buy a slice of pizza, according to a report released today by Policy Matters Ohio.

The report finds that the top 1 percent of Ohioans, with annual incomes averaging $1 million, would receive cut of $2,515 a year on average. The middle fifth of taxpayers, who make between $34,000 and $54,000, would average a tax cut of $48, while the lowest fifth would get $2.

“Cutting the Ohio income tax will accomplish two things,” said Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters Ohio. “It will further skew the tax system in favor of Ohio’s affluent, increasing inequality, and reduce the resources badly needed for our schools, local governments and services.” 

For the report, Policy Matters relied on an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based research group that has a sophisticated model of the tax system. The top income-tax rate after the full phase-in of cuts approved last year will be 5.333 percent, down from the previous 5.925 percent and from 7.5 percent a decade ago. ITEP examined the impact of a 7 percent, across-the-board rate cut, which would reduce the top rate to 4.96 percent.

Only a very small number of Ohioans pay the top rate, which kicks in only for income above $208,500. The top rate is often and erroneously referred to as if it is paid on all taxable income, when in fact it is paid only on taxable income over that amount. 

“Another income-tax cut won’t bring Ohio prosperity,” said Schiller. In 2005, the Ohio General Assembly approved a 21 percent phased-in reduction of income-tax rates. The reason for a reduction of that size was to get the top rate, then at 7.5 percent, below 6 percent. Since then, Ohio job performance has lagged behind that of the country as a whole.

Ohio is one of just a dozen states that have lost jobs since June 2005; we have lost a greater share of our jobs in that time than all but two other states, Rhode Island and Michigan. Since January 2011, the number of jobs in Ohio has grown by 3.97 percent; nationally, the figure is 5.02 percent.  


Income-tax cut would favor well-to-do

by Policy Matters Ohio on February 13th, 2014

An across-the-board cut in rates favored by Gov. Kasich may allow low-income Ohioans to buy a slice of pizza a year, on average. Those in the middle could purchase a cheap pizza maker, while the state’s most affluent taxpayers could use their cut to go on a round-trip for two to Italy, with money left over to pay the hotel bill and buy some real Italian pizza. (more…)

A fair and adequate tax system for Ohio

by Policy Matters Ohio on January 16th, 2014

Our recommendations for a smarter Ohio tax system include: maintaining and strengthening the state income tax; reviewing, eliminating and sunsetting tax expenditures; restoring the business share of Ohio taxes; and modernizing the system so it covers today’s economy. (more…)

A Better Tomorrow?

by Policy Matters Ohio on December 12th, 2013

In our latest eNews: a policy brief on energy efficiency, analysis of what Cuyahoga County’s two largest private nonprofit hospital systems would pay in property taxes if they weren’t exempt, a look at why current rules on help for dislocated workers should stay, and a call to continue federal assistance for the unemployed. (more…)

Congress should not leave the unemployed behind

by Policy Matters Ohio on December 11th, 2013

Unemployment insurance helps keep workers in the labor market, making sure they have transportation to job interviews and money to cover other expenses needed to look for work. Congress should keep this important program alive. (more…)