January 2011 News from Policy Matters Ohio: Recovery, Privatization, Reinvestment

- January 19, 2011

Recovering Ohio – Thousands of low- and middle-income working Ohioans received larger tax credits in 2009 due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) brought an additional $376 million into Ohio. Our new report estimates that more than 640,000 children were directly assisted by these changes and describes changes including coverage of a third child and benefits up to a higher income level for married families under the EITC, and widened availability of the CTC, worth $1,000 per child.

Privatizing Ohio – Governor Kasich proposes creating a nonprofit corporation called JobsOhio to take over the Ohio Department of Development, but Policy Matters argues that Ohio’s economic development efforts need more transparency and accountability, not less. The policy resource center Good Jobs First examined results in states that have privatized development efforts, finding performance problems and diminished accountability. Policy Matters’ Wendy Patton and Phil Mattera of Good Jobs First, presented testimony on the proposal at a Jan. 26 hearing.

Billions flow… out of Ohio – Ohio used almost 118 million barrels of oil in 2009 at a cost of nearly $12 billion, sending $11.5 billion out of Ohio to import it. That’s bad for the economy, the environment and national security! We could turn this hat trick around by investing more in transit, bike lanes and density, putting Ohioans to work in the process. Learn more here.

Transportation Nation – If America were buying more trains and hybrid buses, Ohioans could be employed producing them. Policy Matters and the Apollo Alliance outlined economic benefits to Ohio from future demand for mass transit vehicles. Funding to spur that demand could come from a reconfigured federal Surface Transportation Act, creating more jobs than current programming. In Ohio, 226 firms currently serving the freight rail industry could garner new orders from expanded passenger rail. Ohio is one of the top five states in number of manufacturing companies already serving the passenger rail industry. The Apollo Alliance’s Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan (T-MAP) recommends leveraging transportation investments to create a globally competitive transit and clean vehicle manufacturing sector and to manufacture hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.

EITC Coalition – Want to give a couple of hours and help a low-income family have more in the bank? Sign up to volunteer with the Cuyahoga EITC coalition – training ends this weekend!

Talk, talk, talk – On January 27, researcher David Rothstein and others will talk at CWRU’s Mandel Center about how changes in the political environment can affect a nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission. Director Amy Hanauer covered a similar topic at the Foundation Center on January 14, summarized here.

Media round-up – Policy Matters tracks some 500 radio, television and print hits a year around Ohio. Some recent highlights: researcher David Rothstein opines about foreclosures in the Cleveland Plain Dealer; director Amy Hanauer gives incoming Governor Kasich tips in the Toledo Blade; newspapers in Akron, Cincinnati and Dayton all run op-eds on the One Ohio Now coalition for a balanced approach (with revenue) to the state budget; research director Zach Schiller weighs in on tax policy in the Blade; a devastating story on black poverty in Akron quotes Hanauer; Wendy Patton generates much coverage of public sector (under)compensation including this piece in the Dispatch; the Beacon Journal editorializes in favor of revenue; Amanda Woodrum discusses transportation on Cleveland’s Channel 3 news (WKYC); and a critical piece in the Toledo Blade compares Policy Matters and the state’s right-wing think tank.

Eye on your Inbox – We’ve been so busy, our news couldn’t fit in one e-news. Keep your eyes peeled for special e-news editions on Wage Theft, the Budget, and the EITC.

That’s all!
The Policy Matters Ohio Team 

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