Our latest e-news: The Ohio budget and more

- May 12, 2015

A threat to women’s health care; a gift to the wealthy; a home-care crisis and a possible minimum wage hike.

Women’s health care under threat — With Ohio ranking near the bottom of the 50 states in infant mortality, lawmakers should focus on improving care. But as Wendy Patton reports, Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposes cuts to health care for low-income women. The House would make it harder for low-income women to access and maintain health care through Medicaid.

A gift to Ohio’s wealthiest — The budget approved by the Ohio House recently would deliver thousands of dollars a year in average tax cuts to the most affluent, while providing so little to the poorest Ohioans it wouldn’t be enough to buy a gallon of milk, Zach Schiller says in a budget analysis.

Deep in the hole — Local governments may gain nearly $300 million under Gov. Kasich’s budget proposal. While that sounds good, the gains offset little of $1.4 billion that the state has drained from our communities over the past five years, Wendy Patton reports.

Home care crisis — Home care aides are among the fastest-growing occupations, but the industry is riddled with high turnover, workforce vacancies and related quality of care issues, Amanda Woodrum found. The problems stem from low wages; part-time and unpredictable hours and lack of employer-provided health insurance. Policymakers should improve wages and benefits to improve care for our neighbors who are elderly or have disabilities.

A needed boost — A proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 would help 1.5 million Ohioans and spur economic growth, writes Michael Shields. While the state economy grew by more than two-thirds between 1979 and 2013, the typical Ohio worker’s wages actually dropped slightly when adjusted for inflation.

Room for improvement — Our report on Ohio’s Earned Income Tax Credit said it could be a much more powerful tool for helping working families. Kalitha Williams and Hannah Halbert found that only about 7 percent of Ohio’s poorest workers receive any benefit from the state EITC, and that by making the credit refundable and removing an income cap, many more working families would benefit.

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