1 victory, 1 meeting, 347,000 raises

Policy Matters Ohio - January 13, 2012

Great step – Our report last week drew attention to the 20,000 Ohioans set to lose unemployment benefits when a joint federal-state program ends January 28. Ohio’s program was set to end sooner than federal support would last. Ohio state senators shared our concern and on Tuesday passed a bill extending the initiative. The House is expected to act before the deadline. It would be a great first step to support Ohio’s unemployed and boost the state’s economy.

Meet the Prez – When the president came to town, our intrepid and resourceful David Rothstein, project director for asset building, was part of a group working to make sure President Obama heard some unvarnished truth about Ohio’s foreclosure crisis. David ended up meeting the president briefly along with our ally Lou Tisler, of Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland. In advance of the POTUS visit, we released this summary brief that shows just how much foreclosures continue to impact our communities.

Wage boost – On January 1, Ohio’s minimum wage went up thanks to a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2006 that provides for annual adjustments to keep pace with the rising cost of living. An estimated 347,000 Ohioans get a raise, and it helps the state’s economy too, by putting more money in the pockets of workers who tend to spend quickly on goods and services, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute that we released in Ohio.

A shout-out – Thanks to our supporters who voted in the Pepsi Refresh contest, Policy Matters and four other members of the Progressive Slate won $50,000 each. This cash infusion will support our work to help families avoid bad loans, save money and start building toward a better future. A big shout-out to all of you who voted for us – working together, we can make Ohio more prosperous, equitable, sustainable and inclusive!

In the media – Some great recent press includes a Toledo Blade editorial on the “fuzzy math” the state is using to justify prison privatization, a piece in the State Journal of West Virginia on new fees and taxes on Ohio shale gas extraction under consideration and another story in the Blade about free tax preparation services.

Welcome aboard! – Policy Matters has brought on new board members Kamla Lewis, who works revitalizing neighborhoods for the city of Shaker Heights, and Renuka Mayadev, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. We’ve filled two new staff positions as well: Tracy Moavero is development and communications coordinator in Cleveland and Kalitha Williams is a Columbus-based policy liaison for our asset building project. David Rothstein, Wendy Patton and Piet van Lier also got well-earned promotions. For the scoop, click here.

Thanks from Amy Hanauer and the Policy Matters Team.


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