Fracking, Financial Aid, Fightback

- March 19, 2014

In this eNews: Ohio slashes aid for post-secondary education; Policy Matters joins other states in calling for regional approach to frack tax; new Kasich tax proposal would mean cuts for wealthiest, higher taxes for low income Ohioans; Congress should support strengthened EITC and CTC; Ohio is doing better job-wise than we thought, but gains are still too slow; and a call to sign a letter asking legislators to strengthen Ohio’s future.

Blocked – Ohio has slashed aid for college students by a third over the past 10 years. As a result, it now invests less in need-based aid per full-time undergraduate than any Midwestern state and ranks 36th nationally, according to our new higher-ed study. It gets worse – changes to state policy mean students at two-year colleges can’t get need-based state aid. It doesn’t have to be this way: An investment of only $85 million would return Ohio to pre-recession levels of financial aid funding.

Regional frack tax – We joined think tanks in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to call for a common approach to taxation of gas and oil in all three states. Interstate cooperation can stop the race to the bottom and ensure that industry growth is managed in a way that maximizes benefits of fracking and minimizes its costs to residents.

Advantage, wealthy – Gov. Kasich’s new tax proposal would deliver annual tax cuts averaging more than $2,800 to the top 1 percent of Ohio taxpayers, according to a new analysis done for Policy Matters by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Ohioans in the bottom two-fifths would pay more on average than they do now. Our take on the overall proposal: It contains some helpful initiatives, but the tax cuts will hurt, not help, Ohio.

Credit where it’s due – President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 includes several important improvements to the pro-work Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit that, taken together, will reduce poverty among low-wage workers and their families, reduce income inequality, strengthen work incentives, and send federal dollars to local communities. Congress should approve these proposals.

Slow gains – Ohio is further along in our recovery than previously indicated, according to newly benchmarked data showing that jobs in our state are down 2.4 percent from the start of the recession through January 2014. This is an improvement over older numbers that had the state trailing pre-recession levels by 4 percent. Unfortunately, growth is still too slow.

Act now – Advocates for Ohio’s Future wants Ohio organizations and individuals to sign this letter asking state legislators to focus on strengthening Ohio’s families and communities in 2014.

Credit: Mortarboard image on home page by Rediffusion

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