May 2006: Puppies and Policy – Spring News from Policy Matters

- May 20, 2006

Good for Business? – Twenty states have raised their minimum wages above the federal, as a grassroots coalition hopes to do through a ballot initiative here later this year. The state action isn’t surprising: the value of the federal minimum wage is lower than at any time in more than 50 years. Do high and low minimum wage states differ in their economic performance? Join us in the North Hallway outside the governor’s ceremonial office in the state capital at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday May 10 to find out. Don’t remember who would gain from a minimum wage increase? Review our March report Who Needs a Raise?

TELLING the Truth – Just six months from now, Ohio voters will decide whether to put a proposed tax and expenditure limitation amendment (TEL) in the state constitution.  The proposal is modeled on a disastrous initiative that wrecked higher education, health care, transportation infrastructure, and other public services in Colorado.  Coloradans were so fed up with the proposal that they suspended this part of their constitution in November, 2005.  [Read about Colorado’s experience here.]  Ohio’s TEL combines the worst of all worlds: it is both poorly drafted and far-reaching.  The proposal not only hinders state government, but will undermine local governments, school districts, and universities.  Our analysis Flawed by Design reveals some of the problems with the TEL.  The Coalition for Ohio’s Future site can show you how to protect Ohio from this bad idea.

When Work Disappears – In less than a generation, we’ve shifted from a society where workers may have expected to hold the same job for life to one in which many Ohioans are displaced annually, and compensation often plummets. To get better at helping those laid off, Policy Matters crunched three years of data on more than 12,000 workers who got training under the Job Training Partnership Act.  The results lend insights for today’s workforce development system: target high wage career paths, do skill-intensive training, make full use of labor market information, create better links to employers, and make support services available during training.  Click here to read the report.

Foreclosures Grow…Again – The number of Ohioans who lost homes to foreclosure and sheriff sales continued to grow in 2005. Last year, foreclosure filings increased 8.5 percent, and the 63,996 filings represented one for every 71 Ohio households. Our new report analyzes foreclosure filing data from the Ohio Supreme Court and provides preliminary data from its biennial survey of county sheriffs.  Read more here.

Good Job News at last? – Ohio’s job market showed some signs of improvement in March. Employment growth resumed after three months of job losses, according to a survey of employers. A separate survey of households indicated the number of unemployed has fallen. However, there are reasons to remain cautious about the strength of the improvement. Read more on our JobWatch page.

We’ve got a puppy – Well, not really; but research assistant David Rothstein has been bringing Lucy, his cocker spaniel/poodle into the office quite a bit ever since she arrived last month.  You can see a picture of Lucy here!

That’s all!
The Policy Matters Ohio Team 

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