May 2011 News from Policy Matters Ohio: True! and other Mid-May News from Policy Matters

- May 19, 2011
   

Talk of the Town – Join One Ohio Now tomorrow (Wednesday, May 25) at 7 p.m. on a Tele-Townhall for the latest on the state budget and how you can influence the outcome as the Senate puts its mark on the bill. Register now, then call in at 877-340-7912. Want our panelists to address your issue? Submit questions to andrea@oneohionow.org.

Just the facts – Not that we doubted, but we were glad that the Plain Dealer’s Politifact Ohio today (PDF here) rated “True” Executive Director Amy Hanauer’s statement that a record four in ten Ohio school children now qualify for subsidized lunch. Hanauer made the statement in a speech in front of the Ohio statehouse to a crowd of over 2,000, on May 5, the day the House passed the Ohio budget. We knew she spoke truth to power, but we’re glad the Plain Dealer agrees.

Training for Recovery – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided Ohio with more than $370 million in employment assistance and job training funds to help people left jobless by the recession as they looked and trained for new careers. Hannah Halbert’s May report found that Ohioans who got training and other help with Recovery Act funds through Ohio’s workforce system had a better chance of finding a job than those getting help through other programs.

Lop those loopholes – We’ve been calling for the legislature to examine and excise some of the $7 billion in annual “silent spending” through loopholes in Ohio’s tax code. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Chambers, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Akron Beacon Journal and even the Buckeye Institute have now all called for a closer look at loopholes. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (PDF here), proposes some solutions as does our March, 2011 report.

Prison Tour – If you’re not on the tele-town hall tomorrow, come to Marion, Ohio for a panel discussion on the problems with prison privatization. We joined the American Civil Liberties Union and the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association for discussions all over Ohio, exposing serious problems with the proposal to privatize and sell up to six Ohio prisons. Last week, we joined the tour in Chillicothe and Cambridge. The tour continues in Lima today and Marion tomorrow.

Gotta Go – Transportation is a critical link to opportunity—connecting us to jobs, schools, housing, health care, and grocery stores. But for many, quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent. On June 1, join community leaders and elected officials from across Ohio in a discussion, cosponsored by Policy Matters and many others, about how federal transportation policies and investments can better advance economic and social equity. 

Once more with feeling – Last week education researcher Piet van Lier presented testimony about the miserable track record of for-profit charters in Ohio, among other issues, to the Senate Finance committee; two days later, Wendy Patton presented some good revenue-raising options in her testimony before the same committee. 

Our opinion is – Zach Schiller writes today in the Dayton Daily News about the extensive privatization proposals in the budget, from the Turnpike to prisons to liquor distribution. He reviews problems we and others have found with such schemes, then writes: “In light of some of the privatization fiascoes that have occurred in other places, the lack of accountability is stunning.” Schiller concludes that the proposals lack fundamental public safeguards and should be scrapped.

Save the date – The brilliant Patrick Bresette of the national think tank Demos comes to the City Club of Cleveland at noon on Wednesday June 22 to talk about government. Save the date, details to come.

That’s all!
The Policy Matters team

 

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