July 2011 News from Policy Matters Ohio: Budgets, BlueGreen & Buses

- July 19, 2011

Modernize or Lose – Ohio stands to lose up to $176.3 million in federal funds if it does not modernize its unemployment compensation within the next 2 months. Read more on how the state could qualify for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through reforms like offering compensation to people seeking part-time work or those who left a job to care for a sick relative.

Off-Balance – Hannah Halbert’s analysis of Ohio’s 2012-2013 Workforce Training Budget shows a marked re-direction of funding from training unemployed workers to training the already-employed. The report questions leaving the unemployed out of training opportunities at a time of severe unemployment, saying “the cost to our recovery is simply too high.”

Broken Budget – In order to help advocates, local governments, human service providers, school personnel and others monitor Ohio’s unfolding budget in real time, we’ve provided literally dozens of briefs, testimonies, reports and presentations this year. Briefs in the past six weeks include three on special tax breaks for businesses which were not reviewed and indeed were expanded; one on education in the budget, one on how the budget looked in conference committee; and two other summary documents, one longer and one 2-pager. This deluge of analysis helped inspire the New York Times to seek comment on the final budget from our Senior Associate Wendy Patton.

Conscience of the Times – Policy Matters was honored to host Bob Herbert (PDF here), former New York Times columnist, on his trip to Cleveland in late June. We look forward to the work that will grow from his desire to write “more expansively and more aggressively about the injustices visited on working people, the poor and the many others in our society who find themselves on the wrong side of power.”

Paid to Sprawl – Released last week in Cleveland, Good Jobs First’s report “Paid to Sprawl” (PDF here) shows that tax breaks meant to attract businesses to Ohio have instead just moved already-existing businesses around. Urban centers like Cleveland and Cincinnati have lost businesses to the suburbs, at a cost to local governments and school districts.

Getting There – As Good Jobs First shows policy fueling sprawl, Researcher Amanda Woodrum points to a more sustainable approach. See her and an amazing cast defending public transit in “Where Ohio Needs to Go,” a video documenting a June Transit Workers conference on transit as a civil rights issue.

Going BlueGreen – On July 1, the Apollo Alliance (Policy Matters’ partner in clean energy development in Ohio) officially merged with the BlueGreen Alliance, creating a powerful voice in the national movement for economic development based on renewable energy and green jobs.

That’s all!
The Policy Matters Team

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