Coffee, tea — or Paris?

- November 6th, 2013
   

In our latest eNews, we recap our recent work on a proposal that would funnel savings from Medicaid expansion into tax cuts, and highlight media citations of that work. We also summarize the decision by federal lawmakers to allow a temporary boost to food aid to lapse, and weigh in on the Ohio Senate’s consideration of a resolution in favor of a federal balanced budget amendment.

Cup of Joe – Senate Bill 210 would take the savings from Medicaid expansion and use it for an across-the-board income-tax cut that might buy a cheap cup of coffee for low-income Ohioans but would give the average top earner enough for a trip to Paris. That’s one finding from an analysis for Policy Matters by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The Columbus Dispatch cited ITEP’s finding that the top 5 percent of Ohio earners would get 42 percent of the cut,while the bottom 80 percent would see an average annual tax cut of $28 or less.

Better Ideas – Instead, Medicaid savings should be used to address some of Ohio’s many unmet needs, not give even more tax cuts to the affluent. The Akron Beacon Journal editorial page agreed, citing our ideas for better ways to use the money.

SNAP Decision – Federal lawmakers have apparently decided that $1.40 per person per meal is enough for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). On Nov. 1, some 1.8 million low-income Ohioans saw their food aid cut; a family of three would lose $29 a month. This won’t just harm individual families – it also means $193 million less in federal funding for Ohio, slowing economic growth here.

Balancing Act – The Ohio Senate is considering a resolution in favor of a federal balanced budget amendment. Our testimony explained that this would threaten funding for schools, highways and other vital public structures in Ohio and across the nation, invite more Congressional brinkmanship because of super-majority requirements, and make recessions longer and deeper by forcing lawmakers to cut spending or raise taxes when the economy is weakest.