January 2010 News from Policy Matters Ohio: Buses, Roads and Jobs

- January 15, 2010

Go Green – Ohio can provide gears for wind turbines, insulation for buildings, components for solar panels and more – but only if we have workers trained to fill the high skill manufacturing and construction jobs that make and build the green economy. This new report, a collaboration with the Apollo Alliance, identifies training opportunities in Ohio that prepare workers for green-collar jobs. We highlight existing programs and provide policy recommendations on how to begin the challenging, but critical, work of building and strengthening green career pathways.

Forward Motion – We’ve helped convene a host of transportation, public policy, social service, and environmental organizations in a campaign to reverse the decline of public transportation in Ohio. These 19 organizations, representing tens of thousands of members and clients, have united under the name “Save Transit Now, Move Ohio Forward!

File Free –  If you make $50,000 or less, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The credit can be worth more than $5,000 for qualifying families with children. Call 2-1-1 to find out about free tax sites in Franklin, Hamilton or Cuyahoga Counties or click here to learn more. File free to get all of your refund.

It’s the Law – A recent Policy Matters release called attention to a little-known state budget fact: Funding for minimum-wage oversight will disappear in July unless the legislature takes action. The budget approved last year wiped out funding for enforcement of Ohio’s minimum wage. The governor and others are now working to restore these dollars.

Road to Recovery – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stabilized the economy and created jobs across Ohio and the nation. Goals included assisting those most hurt by the recession; creating jobs; and repairing and upgrading America’s infrastructure. We found that transportation spending targeted economic distress in both rural and urban areas. Essential dollars were invested throughout the state, including cities, where need is high, population dense, and infrastructure old. Ohio will be adding more interchanges and bypasses and widening more roads than is typical for the nation, even though mass transit and road repair create more jobs than new highway construction. We also found that Ohio’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations, as a whole, spent more in suburban communities than in primary cities. The report finds that road spending relieved need, fixed infrastructure and helped the economy. We conclude with recommendations to pave the way to a more equitable and sustainable Ohio.

City Compact – Our director served on the legislative Compact with Ohio Cities Taskforce, which met over the second half of 2009 and came up with concrete, practical recommendations to revitalize Ohio’s urban centers. Governor Strickland and legislators are already moving on some of the recommendations. Check our homepage for a link to the findings.

Truth to Power – Ohio Apollo Alliance’s Shanelle Smith testified to the Ohio House Alternative Energy Committee on the Advanced Energy Fund, telling the legislators how investments in renewable energy could build jobs in Ohio.

That’s all!
The Policy Matters Ohio Team 

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