March 2010 News from Policy Matters Ohio: Trade, Taxes, Manufacturing and Minimum wage

- March 15, 2010

Impact of IMPACT – America and Ohio must capitalize on advanced and clean energy markets. This report examines the Investment in Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology Act (IMPACT), a free-standing bill in the U.S. Senate that passed the House of Representatives as part of a bill to cap carbon emissions. Analysis shows that over ten years, IMPACT could create between 41,063 and 52,214 jobs in Ohio by strengthening existing manufacturing plants and sectors. IMPACT is the first step on a long road to rebuilding America’s manufacturing muscle.

Tax Testimony – Gubernatorial candidate John Kasich has called for elimination of the state income tax and a similar proposal was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. Policy Matters testified before the House Ways and Means Committee that such an approach would break the debt cap and deplete more than 45% of the tax portion of the state’s General Revenue Fund. “We could close down the state prison system, end all aid to higher education and cut off property-tax relief paid by the state, and we still would have to cut more to make up the loss of income-tax revenue,” Executive Director Amy Hanauer said in her testimony, which also proposed restoring prior tax cuts.

Foreclosure Facts –  For the fourteenth straight year, Ohio experienced an increase in new foreclosure filings in 2009. What began as mostly an urban problem in the mid 1990s has erupted into triple-digit 10-year growth rates in every Ohio county. Ohio set a new foreclosure filing record in 2009, topping 89,000 filings. This represents a major, ongoing blow to savings and stability. This report analyzes foreclosure filings and recommends policies to reverse the trend.

Trading Down – Trade between the United States and China has grown tremendously since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001. The effect has been net job loss in the U.S. (2.4 million jobs) and in Ohio (91,800 jobs). Job loss occurred in every Ohio congressional district as our report shows.

File EITC for Free – Who Takes Credit?: The Earned Income Tax Credit in Cuyahoga County, 2009 examines the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit which can provide more than $4,800 to a family and is the main source of direct federal financial assistance to moderate-income working families. The report surveys more than 1,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clients in order to understand how clients make financial choices and how free tax services affect their lives.

Enforce the Law – Ohio’s State Controlling Board approved continued funding for enforcement of Ohio’s wage and hour laws at a February meeting, ending the threat that state enforcement of the Ohio minimum wage would end. The General Assembly had not provided funds for Fiscal Year 2011 in the biennial budget. Hats off to labor, other advocates, the Commerce Department and the Controlling Board for making the fix.

Media Roundup – Policy Matters tracks some 400 press hits a year, most in Ohio. A few recent favorites from less familiar places:

Researcher David Rothstein’s report on the rent-to-own industry was recently quoted in an MSN Money article.

Executive Director Amy Hanauer wrote a piece called Buckeye Budget Blues for The American Prospect and another on race and the recovery act, Getting Recovery Right for Black America in this publication from the Kirwan Institute.

Researcher Amanda Woodrum’s piece on industrial efficiency was quoted in the Nation magazine.

Check out this clip of Ohio Apollo Coordinator Shanelle Smith as she is interviewed about the recent Apollo/ Policy Matters report on green jobs training in Ohio.

That’s all!
The Policy Matters Ohio Team 

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