Tweets, taxes, trends

Policy Matters Ohio - February 9th, 2012
   

School strugglesOur survey found that two-thirds of responding school districts were cutting budgets, with pain spread across rural, suburban and urban systems alike. Districts are eliminating teachers and programs, and class size will be growing; more than a quarter expect to be in fiscal distress next year. Based on the survey, report co-author Wendy Patton also wrote this op-ed for the Toledo Blade.

An alternative – We teamed up with the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy to analyze the impact of restoring previous tax rates on income over $250,000 and further boosting the rate on income over half a million dollars. The result: an additional $650 million in annual revenue that the state could use on education and infrastructure crucial to our future. Those in the top 1 percent of income would pay the vast bulk of the increase with close to 99 percent seeing no increase. Read the issue brief here.

The EITC rocks – David Rothstein traveled to D.C. to mark EITC Awareness Day, presenting these remarks at a briefing organized by the National Community Tax Coalition. He emphasized that the Earned Income Tax Credit is the “largest poverty relief program for working families” and called for renewed efforts to boost free tax preparation programs because of their high return on investment.

Scraping by – For too many Ohio families, making ends meet is a day-to-day struggle, according to the 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard we co-released here with the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Ohio ranked 37th among states in part because residents lack adequate savings or other assets to cover expenses for three months if they lose a steady income.

Make it, green – Our partner BlueGreen Apollo released a plan for growing green manufacturing jobs in Ohio. Recommendations include improving clean energy policies with loan programs for manufacturers that want to go green. Here’s the link to Ohio’s Green Manufacturing Action Plan.

Good move – In January, the Ohio House voted to extend unemployment benefits for some 20,000 Ohioans; a few days later, Gov. John Kasich signed HB 337 into law. This was a common-sense first step. Congress must now act to extend emergency jobless benefits that cover 80,000 Ohioans and last year brought nearly $1.4 billion to the state.

Not so fast – The economy may be getting stronger, but don’t let Ohio’s falling unemployment rate fool you. Two months of marked improvement in the official numbers suggest a revived economy, but the data clearly show that the rate continues to reflect a shrinking labor force rather than job growth and expanded employment. Our January JobWatch lays it out in plain English.

Calling all candidates – Want to learn more about what you can do to move Ohio forward? If you’re an elected official in Ohio, or are engaged in a campaign to become one, call us to learn more about the high-road approach to building an economy that works for everyone. Policy Matters Ohio offers briefings on a nonpartisan basis about the issues we research. For more information or to schedule a briefing, email us at prosado @ policymattersohio.org or call 216.361.9801.

Tweets-R-Us – We may not be early adopters, but when Policy Matters jumps in, we go headfirst. So check out our new Twitter feed. (Special thanks to Tracy Moavero, our newest Cleveland staffer.)

Thanks from Amy Hanauer and the Policy Matters team.