Two (big) wins and some losses

- October 23, 2013
   

In this eNews, we celebrate two great Ohio victories — Medicaid expansion and the new state Earned Income Tax Credit. We also highlight our budget overview, September Census data releases, weak jobs numbers for Ohio, and missed alternative transit opportunities in Cleveland.

Enormous win – Monday’s Controlling Board decision to authorize using federal funds for Medicaid expansion means 366,000 low-income Ohio workers can get preventive care. They’ll be healthier, we’ll save money, the spin-off will create some 28,000 Ohio jobs and the feds will pay! Congrats to Gov. Kasich and his staff, the Controlling Board, and the advocates who worked tirelessly for this victory.

Credit that counts – More than 440,000 Ohioans will be eligible for the state’s new Earned Income Tax Credit: a great step forward. Alas, the Ohio EITC is one of the smallest among state credits and has three weaknesses that make it less helpful to working families. Read more about how to make our EITC a credit that counts.

Budget background – The state budget restored some investments after devastating cuts in 2011, but missed essential opportunities. Legislators didn’t modernize the tax structure for the growing oil and gas industry and they cut taxes for the most affluent Ohioans and business owners, leaving our communities with too little. Read our overview to learn why these choices are making it harder to fund the education and infrastructure needed to make Ohio stronger.

Poor and uninsured – The number of uninsured Ohio children has stayed about the same since 2000, while the number of adults in that quandary increased. This is why Medicaid expansion is so essential. Other Census data show little change in poverty in 2012, with 1.8 million Ohioans, including one in four children, still below the line. Better policy can help.

Seesaw – Ohio’s slow job growth stalled in August when the state lost more than 8,000 jobs, according to state data. The loss erased a small gain in July, and left Ohio down more than 13,000 jobs since a peak in May. New data were delayed by the federal government shutdown, but the numbers don’t look good, according to this piece in the Plain Dealer.

Missed bus – The $331 million for Cleveland’s proposed Opportunity Corridor leaves out alternatives, especially important for commuters who ride transit, walk or bike to work. Nearly 12 percent of Clevelanders are carless – $331 million could buy smarter options that would bring vibrancy and equity to CLE.

Also check out:

A smart piece in the terrific new magazine Belt on cities, movements, bicycles and the roots of Policy Matters;

This quick brief on what the insane government shutdown, which will cost our economy billions, could have done to services in Ohio;

A great report from UC Berkeley researchers on how fast food’s low wages costs the public;

Our invited testimony summing up decades of research on taxes (hint: cutting taxes won’t cure what ails us and could make it worse);

Another testimony, concluding that Senate Bill 58 would gut our energy efficiency laws, benefit investor-owned utilities, cost most ratepayers more, and slow progress.

 

 

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