Join us at 10 a.m EST on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Register here.
Tom Feltner of the Consumer Federation of America and David Rothstein of Policy Matters Ohio will co-facilitate the webinar Keys as Collateral: Auto-tile Lending Industry and its impact in Ohio. The webinar will cover this newest form of payday lending; it is growing in Ohio and is impacting families and their financial stability.
This free webinar is being presented by Ohio CASH, which stands for Creating Assets, Savings and Hope, and is a project of Policy Matters Ohio. We provide a collaborative hub for asset building, income security, and consumer protection research and outreach. The overall goal of Ohio CASH is to improve the financial and economic conditions for low- and moderate-income families and communities. Only by building assets – helping families save and protect their income – can we end the cycle of poverty. Learn more about us at www.ohiocash.org
Register at http://bit.ly/188lGhl.
Check this page for ongoing analysis of proposals and changes as the Ohio General Assembly debates a biennial budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. (more…)
Fully 70 percent of districts responding to the survey said they had made cuts to balance the budget for 2012-13, up from about two-thirds that reported cuts for the previous school year. More than 90 percent of respondents said they anticipated having to make cuts next year unless they get new state funds. (more…)
Electric vehicle development and infrastructure would save money, strengthen Ohio economy, report finds
Ohio is well positioned to be a key player in the supply chain for electric vehicles, according to a new report released today by Policy Matters Ohio. Other states, however, are working harder to develop the next generation of automobiles by promoting early adoption of the technology.
The state can help drive demand with fleet requirements and smart incentives that come with strong standards and accountability. In the past, the Ohio Department of Transportation has used flexible federal funds to support green transit vehicle adoption.
In 2010, Ohioans spent $45 billion on energy. Nearly half of it went to fuel for cars, trucks and buses, and nearly all of it went to import oil.
“Ohio can reduce its dependence on imported oil by promoting electric vehicles, buses, passenger rail and freight rail,” said Amanda Woodrum, Policy Matters researcher and report author.
“Electric vehicle adoption in Ohio offers a tremendous opportunity for consumers to save money on fuel costs and maintenance over the life of the vehicle,” said Cynthia Maves of Clean Fuels Ohio, the leading advocate for electric vehicles in the state. “This savings will have a positive impact on Ohio’s economy.”
Smart local policies can make a difference, too. Exciting examples include aggregated power purchase in Cincinnati, community-wide green development in Oberlin, Sustainable Cleveland 2019, and the city of Cuyahoga Falls’ Community Energy Strategic Plan. In these cities, electric vehicles will be running on up to 100 percent clean power, much of it from domestic resources.
The state of Ohio can support local efforts and the development of the state’s electric-vehicle supply chain by:
- Creating a Transportation Choice fund in the state transportation budget;
- Expanding Ohio’s Advanced Energy Fund and using it to provide grants, rebates, vouchers and low-interest loans to promote the adoption of electric vehicles;
- Protecting and expanding state clean energy laws;
- Identifying existing Ohio manufacturers that can participate in the electric vehicle supply chain, helping them retool to meet the needs of the industry, and investing in related research and development.
“We can use smart policy to ensure that Ohio uses homegrown electricity from cleaner energy sources to fuel our cars and trucks in the future,” said Woodrum. “Ohio has many opportunities, but other states are working harder to develop this new industry.”
To join Clean Fuels Ohio and the Great Lakes Energy Task Force for the EV Readiness Workshop in Cleveland tomorrow (May 9), and get engaged in the Drive Electric Ohio initiative, register here: www.evreadiness-workshop.eventbrite.com.
###Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use of cleaner, domestic fuels and efficient vehicles, developed the Drive Electric Ohio initiative to advance the adoption and deployment of electric vehicles for both passenger and fleet vehicles in Ohio. www.driveelectricohio.org/evplan/.
by Wendy Patton in the Dayton Daily NewsSlashing taxes is not an effective way to promote job growth
Columbus is taking half of the funds historically shared with local governments, schools and libraries, and using it to pay for state programs and cut taxes for the wealthiest. This means layoffs in Butler and Warren counties, slashed services in Montgomery and Clark counties, and less spending in all of our local economies.
Butler County, and its municipalities, levies, libraries and schools, lost $27.3 million in state revenue sharing and school funding over calendar years 2012 and 2013, compared to funding in the prior two years. Warren County’s loss was $37.5 million. Montgomery County’s revenues were down by $127.3 million and Clark County revenues fell by $25.2 million. Across the four counties, state aid for schools dropped by $148 million combined.
Levies and human services were impacted: Butler County’s children’s services levy, for example, dropped by $1.7 million, compared to historical levels, as the General Assembly reduced reimbursements it had previously promised when it eliminated local property taxes. Warren County seniors’ services lost $530,000. Sinclair Community College lost $3.6 million and the Clark County Health District lost $207,000.
All communities are struggling because of these cuts. Compared to the prior state budget, state aid from the Local Government Fund and tax reimbursements was down by $1.1 million in Lebanon, $2.1 million in Hamilton, $3.4 million in Middletown, $12.3 million in Dayton, and $81,000 in German Twp.
Southwestern Ohio counties are not the only ones hurt by these policies. Last year, Policy Matters Ohio called officials across Ohio to understand the effect of cuts in the last state budget. In many places, the immediate impact was job loss. In some places, it was new fees, as in schools across southwestern Ohio, where families had to pay for their young athletes to participate in sports.
Across the state, communities deferred repair of aging infrastructure, left parks untended, dimmed streetlights, furloughed police and firefighters, and closed pools and recreation centers. Seniors lost transportation and, in some cases, meals. One substance abuse agency sold raffle tickets to raise money.
The pending budget bill just passed by the House does not restore revenue sharing for school and local governments, although funds are available and local aid has been cut nearly in half, compared to historical levels. Spending is being cut so that taxes can be slashed. But states that reduced income taxes in the 1990s saw lower income growth and much lower job growth than states that did not make such changes, on average. Ohio, which cut its income tax in 2005, has seen slower job growth than the rest of the nation since.
There are more effective ways to create jobs — ways that, in contrast to tax cutting, would strengthen our communities. According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income working families would bring $16.7 billion in federal dollars to Ohio over the next nine years and create an estimated 27,000 new jobs. In Butler, Warren, Montgomery and Clark counties, close to 38,000 low-wage workers would gain health care. By 2015, about 3,000 local health jobs would be created in these counties and $4.7 million in new revenues would be generated to help restore services.
These are some of the smart reasons that Gov. John Kasich included Medicaid expansion in his budget. Unfortunately, the legislature took it out and, while Medicaid might get expanded some other way, right now Ohio could lose this federal money and these jobs.
Cutting taxes for the wealthy deprives our cities and counties of revenue they need to have strong job markets. Communities suffer when public safety is at risk, parks are unclean, libraries can’t buy books and schools are falling behind. This can mean that housing values drop, and economies spiral downward.
The public sector provides a platform for private development. Good schools, affordable colleges, safe streets and clean pools are part of that platform. Good roads, strong bridges, and efficient and modern ports are also essential. A strong, healthy, well-trained workforce is at the heart.
It takes the public and private sectors working in harmony to create a strong economy. We need to work together, restore investment, and make our towns and cities welcoming places for people to live, work and build their businesses and their lives.
Sequestration cuts benefits to Ohio unemployed, even as more long-term jobless will qualify for U.S. aid
Thousands of unemployed Ohioans will feel the effects of federal sequestration budget cuts through a reduction in their weekly unemployment compensation checks. Unemployed Ohioans are expected to see $25 million less in benefits between now and the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30. (more…)
Seven of 10 responding districts cut budgets for this school year, survey finds
Ohio school districts report that they have reduced salaries and benefits, laid off staff, and cut back on classroom materials to deal with the loss of state funding since 2011, according to the results of a survey released today by Policy Matters Ohio.
Fully 70 percent of responding districts reported making cuts for the 2012-13 school year, with 90 percent expecting further cuts for the coming school year if the state doesn’t increase funding, the survey found.
“Long-term investment in education is the best way to build opportunity for Ohioans,” said Piet van Lier, education researcher at Policy Matters Ohio. “Instead, Ohio’s cuts to school funding have forced schools to get rid of staff, reduce pay, cut materials and increase class sizes.”
Of the 70 percent of responding districts that reported cuts for 2012-13:
- Eighty-four percent said they reduced or froze compensation;
- Eighty-two percent said they reduced staff;
- Fifty-seven percent cut materials, supplies, textbooks or equipment;
- Forty-three percent reported larger class sizes;
- Twenty-three percent had reduced course offerings;
- Twenty-two percent introduced pay-to-play for extracurricular activities, or reduced extracurricular offerings.
Policy Matters also analyzed the change in formula funding over 10 years, including an estimate of the impact on the proposed budget for fiscal years 2014-15, adjusted for inflation. Ohio’s schools will end up in fiscal year 2015 about $1.2 billion behind where they would have been if the state had merely kept up with inflation, in spite of increases proposed so far for the coming biennium.
“Neither Gov. Kasich nor the Ohio House have adequately addressed the needs of Ohio’s schools in their budget proposals,” said van Lier. “The Senate must now lead the way in crafting a stronger, more predictable funding system for the next two years and beyond.”
About the survey
In October 2012, Policy Matters asked the Ohio Association of School Business Officials to distribute a 15-question survey to its members about district finances. Forty-three percent – 261 of the state’s K-12 districts – responded, representing districts from 82 Ohio counties. These districts enroll 646,358 students, about 40 percent of the students attending the state’s K-12 district schools.
###Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.
Unemployment rate lower because Ohioans have stopped looking for jobs
From June 2005, when the tax-cut phase-in began, to March 2013, Ohio lost 4.4 percent of its jobs, while the U.S. as a whole added 1.2 percent. During this period, Ohio has seen the fourth-worst job growth among states, losing 238,000 jobs.
“Proponents promised that the cuts would boost the state’s struggling economy and create jobs, but that promise has not panned out,” said Hannah Halbert, Policy Matters workforce researcher. “Not a single sector in Ohio has outpaced national performance.”
Ohio employment growth has been slower than the nation’s, even though Ohio’s unemployment rate has stayed below the national average since November 2010. According to the analysis, Ohio’s unemployment rate is better than the nation’s because more people have left the Ohio labor market, not because more have found work.
“State economies are complicated, and there are many reasons Ohio job growth is lagging,” said Halbert. “But it’s clear that the 2005 tax cuts did not bring about the promised job growth – there is no reason to think that further tax cuts will, either.”