The fix is in

- January 11, 2013
   

In this edition of our eNews — Ohio’s charter school closure law isn’t so tough after all; the proposed Municipal Income Tax “fix” is a flub; the recent small boost to the minimum wage in Ohio will increase spending, help the economy and relieve poverty; Linda Darling-Hammond comes to town; and a new policy job at Children’s Defense Fund.

Not so tough – Advocates claim Ohio charter law is tough, but of the 20 schools “closed” for academic failure under Ohio’s 2008 automatic-closure law, seven are still operating in the same location under new names, most with significant staff overlap, according to our new report, Avoiding Accountability. An eighth school avoided a closure order by shutting down early and reopening under a new name. Six of the eight schools are run by for-profit companies and together they get millions in public money. Policymakers must improve charter oversight if we want a better education system.
 
The “fix” – House Bill 601 aimed to increase the uniformity of municipal income taxes across the state. As written during the last legislative session, however, it creates new loopholes and doesn’t close existing ones. It also could cost cities significant amounts of money. We find that HB 601 is more of a flub than a fix; it’s up to the legislature to come up with a bill that reduces tax avoidance, guarantees a broad tax base, and ensures that those most able to pay are in fact doing so.
 
Much-needed raise – 215,000 of Ohio’s lowest-paid workers got a much-needed 15-cent raise on January 1. Our release of a study by the Economic Policy Institute finds that while the inflation adjustment is modest and the $7.85 hourly wage is still low, the boost will increase spending, help the economy and relieve poverty.
 
Clear voice – Linda Darling-Hammond, who headed President Obama’s education transition team, is a voice for sensible approaches on everything from teacher training to equity and access. Policy Matters is proud to have helped organize her visit to Cleveland, including the Friday Forum at the City Club of Cleveland on January 25.
 
Good job – Job growth might not be as fast as we want it to be, but here’s one great opportunity: Children’s Defense Fund – Ohio, a terrific organization in Columbus, is looking for a policy director.

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