July 2006 News: Taxes, Tuition, Time – A Busy Summer at Policy Matters

- July 20, 2006
   

Making Ends Meet – How do Ohio families with young kids survive at the poverty level? Only by foregoing essentials, according to a study by Policy Matters and the Economic Policy Institute. It takes twice the poverty line in rural parts of the state and up to three times the poverty line in Ohio cities to get by with the basics – food (not at restaurants), gas (only for essential trips), child care, medical care, modest housing and the like. In Ohio, more than one in five families with young kids don’t get to that basic level, so they scrimp – by living in substandard housing, putting kids in overcrowded care or just skipping the doctor visits. Learn more here.

The College Dropout – As higher education has become more essential, it has also become more expensive in Ohio and in the nation. Ohio’s state investment in higher education, measured per pupil or as a percent of state income, has not kept pace with other states or with demand. Having always lagged the nation in higher education completion, we can ill afford to fall further behind. Below the Curve: Higher Education Opportunity in Ohio examines Ohio’s system of higher education financing and makes recommendations to get our state above the curve.

It’s About TIME – Newsstands nationwide recently featured a TIME magazine minimum wage story, which cited Policy Matters’s research showing that states with higher minimum wages actually have had better job growth. In the piece, Craig Jones, a Cincinnati janitor making $6.50 with no benefits or health care, says “I’m not looking for a handout…But I feel like I’m stuck.” Click here to read the TIME Magazine article. Read our latest report on the minimum wage in Ohio here.

Take it to the Top (1%) – The Ways and Means Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives has begun hearings on House Bill 626, which proposes a new set of income tax cuts, this time to the rates on capital gains. Policy Matters and the Center for Community Solutions asked the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) to analyze the proposal. The result? Three quarters of the proposed tax cuts in the first three years would go to the wealthiest one percent of Ohioans. The plan could cost the state thousands of jobs because a chunk of the cuts would be sent out of state, including almost a fifth that would go to the feds in higher federal income taxes.

Ohio’s Tepid Job Market – The Ohio job market remains tepid a year after implementation of state tax reform aimed at lifting the state’s economic fortunes. During the year, the state gained just 33,300 jobs, according to the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. While that was an improvement over the previous year, job growth lagged far behind gains by the state during the decade of the 1990s and job growth in the United States over the past year. Click here to read our latest JobWatch report.

Federal Tax Cuts Benefit Richest Ohioans – This June 2006 analysis, based on data from Citizens for Tax Justice, shows that federal tax cuts since 2001 strongly favor the richest Ohioans compared to less affluent taxpayers in the state. The one percent of Ohioans who earn the highest incomes in the state, averaging $784,700 a year, will receive more in total from federal tax cuts between 2001 and 2010 than the bottom 60 percent of Ohio taxpayers. The most affluent Ohioans also will get bigger tax cuts as a share of their income than others further down the income scale. More information, including a link to the full report is available here.

It’s Déjà vu all over again – The finished report, Foreclosure Growth in Ohio 2006 now is available on the Policy Matters Ohio web site. The report includes more comprehensive figures than earlier, preliminary versions of the report from our survey of county sheriffs on properties put up for sale. The conclusion remains the same: The number of Ohioans who lost their homes to foreclosure and sheriff sales continued to grow in 2005.

On the Board – Policy Matters director Amy Hanauer was thrilled to be appointed to the board of trustees of the New York-based think tank Demos, a national policy organization focused on helping build a society where America can achieve its highest democratic ideals. At the heart of its mission is strengthening democracy, increasing economic opportunity, and public sector renewal. 

That’s all!
The Policy Matters Ohio Team 

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