June 2011 News from Policy Matters Ohio: Ciao, Welcome and a Policy Success

- October 19, 2011

Welcome Aboard – We’re thrilled to welcome Pari Sabety and Ruth Clevenger to our board of directors. Pari Sabety, the Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer for Antioch University, has also served as state budget director, a Brookings Institution fellow, director of Brookings’ Urban Markets Initiative and director of the Technology Policy Group at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Ruth Clevenger will join the board this month when she retires from her position as Vice President and Community Affairs Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where she has worked for more than 15 years. Clevenger previously worked as a Community Reinvestment Act officer at KeyCorp, marketing manager at Ameritrust (KeyBank), and at several non-profit organizations. These two dynamic leaders will help Policy Matters figure out how our complicated financial, budget and educational systems can better serve the needs of poor, working and middle-class Ohio families.

Quick Change – This week, Policy Matters and the National Employment Law Project did a joint release showing that a revision to the Senate budget bill would roll back minimum wage protection for thousands of currently-covered Ohioans, including homecare workers, some agricultural workers and police and firefighters. The Senate Finance Committee has since removed the changes, keeping Ohio minimum wage protection intact for these categories of Ohio workers. Hear more about it here.

Prison Testimony and Tour – Policy Matters research partner Bob Paynter’s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee last week continued to question the claim that prison privatization has saved substantial sums, saying that calculations used to make this claim were “riddled with errors, oversights and omissions of significant data.” Want to know more about our prison research? Come to the last stop on our prison panel tour on Wednesday, June 22, at 7:00 pm, at Lorain County Community College’s Spitzer Conference Center. RSVP to contact@acluohio.org. Thanks to ACLU-Ohio for phenomenal work organizing this tour, which has raised this issue all over the state.

A Good Tax – Budget proposals to eliminate the Ohio estate tax would wipe out revenues of $230 million to local governments and $55 million to the General Revenue Fund, amplifying the impact of cuts from other directions. Zach Schiller’s report explains why we should keep this progressive tax – and the revenue it generates – in place.

Stop Wage Theft – Pending funding cuts to the Labor and Safety Division of the Department of Commerce would further weaken Ohio’s already cash-strapped enforcement of wage, hour and employee protection laws. Policy Liaison Hannah Halbert’s report finds that the number of wage and hour investigators has been cut from 17 to 7 since 1999.

Don’t Miss – At noon on Wednesday, June 22, the brilliant Patrick Bresette of Demos will discuss the damaging consequences of rampant distrust in government and our shared responsibility for restoring government to its proper role, at the City Club of Cleveland. To register, call 216-621-0082.

Education researcher Piet van Lier joins Cleveland schools interim CEO Peter Raskind, CSU’s Center for Urban Education Director Justin Perry, Meryl Johnson of the Cleveland Teachers Union and Olmsted Falls High School student Pam Keller to discuss what should be done with underperforming schools. Developed by area high school juniors, the forum is Tuesday, June 14 from 4:00-6:30 pm at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. 

Join a coalition of community, labor, civil rights, and environmental groups at the Ohio State Fairgrounds from noon to dusk on August 20 to “Stand Up for Good Jobs and Strong Communities.”

Ciao and Welcome – We thank departing communications coordinator Kahlil Huff for a job well done and wish him well at his new position at the Cuyahoga County Council. We’ll miss his sweet, calm, unflappable style. We also say a reluctant goodbye to interns Hasani Wheat, Yat-Shun Tong, Xin Yu, Ashley Leonard and Marci Blue. Former staff member Kate Sopko joins us temporarily to transition us to our new communications set-up. We also welcome new summer interns: Adam Lauretig of Grinnell College, Christopher Murphy of Kenyon College, David Foust and Betsy Ginther of OSU, Sarah Osmer of CWRU Law School, Bryant Futryk of the University of Akron and Elena Ortiz, who just graduated from Smith College. If this isn’t enough to keep track of, our Columbus office has moved. Look for us at 85 East Gay Street, Suite 802, and at the same phone number 614-221-4505.

That’s all
The Policy Matters team

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