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We're all in this together, but COVID-19 shines a light on the deep inequities in our state and our nation. Smart, compassionate policy will get us through and beyond this crisis. Your contribution creates policies that support the people and communities most directly affected by the outbreak.


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December 18, 2020

Benefits expiration looms as Ohio recovery shambles on

Seasonally adjusted data released today by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) show the state added 29,400 jobs in November. That rate, which would be impressive in normal times, leaves Ohio a year out from recovering the 336,300 jobs lost since November of last year. 


December 17, 2020

Higher education in Ohio: Ambitious goals need better funding

The pandemic is driving down enrollment at Ohio colleges and universities, straining institutions’ budgets and dramatically reshaping campus life. The situation is made worse by insufficient state support and the failure of federal leaders to pass another round of COVID aid.


December 4, 2020

­­Tidings of joy for 300,000 Ohioans?

More than 300,000 Ohioans could lose their unemployment compensation benefits the day after Christmas if Congress does not act to maintain them.


October 29, 2020

Ohioans still need federal aid

Many Ohioans who have been laid off are eager to get back to work so they can provide for their families and contribute to their communities. Many others are working under dangerous conditions without being paid enough to make ends meet. Yet we’re still waiting on a signal from our leaders in Washington that help is on the way.


October 21, 2020

Congress must extend unemployment compensation

Earlier this year, Congress made historic improvements to the unemployment compensation (UC) program, providing crucial aid to families and the economy. However, the $600 weekly UC supplement already has expired and other provisions are set to do so at the end of the year. 


October 7, 2020

Ohioans can’t wait for more COVID aid

The federal government’s negotiations over a new, broad COVID-19 relief package have collapsed. Policy Matters Ohio Executive Director Hannah Halbert released this statement about what a lack of federal aid means for Ohioans.


September 18, 2020

JobWatch: August job gains slow further

"We cannot afford a repeat of austerity policy that prolonged the hardship from the last recession. With the job recovery slowing and half a million Ohioans still out of work, now is the time to tap every available dollar to bolster a rapid recovery that includes everyone,” says Researcher Michael Shields.


August 28, 2020

Keeping Ohioans safe from COVID-19 at work

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has failed to issue workplace safety mandates specifically aimed to protect workers against COVID-19. Without federal leadership, Ohio’s policymakers must act to protect workers and all Ohioans.


August 26, 2020

Cuts, costs and CARES Act fund

Gov. Mike DeWine's budget cuts and sluggish state tax collections are setting a new, lower spending baseline for many programs in Ohio's next budget year. $440 million in cuts are already known for K-12 schools, higher education and public defenders.


August 21, 2020

Trump’s “lost wages assistance” and Ohio

The $600 in weekly unemployment compensation Ohioans received from the federal government was a lifeline, but it ended on July 25. Now, President Trump says he will take disaster relief money to pay for “Lost Wages Assistance” at half that level—and for a very limited time. 


August 21, 2020

JobWatch: Ohio jobless numbers fell in July

Congress is on recess instead of working to address the ongoing economic crisis. They should return and immediately pass a stimulus bill that provides real support for Ohioans. 


August 20, 2020

College towns need support

In the face of the pandemic, not only are universities going to suffer, so are the communities built around them.


August 12, 2020

Congress needs to get back to the table, get the job done

While our leaders argue, people are skipping meals, putting off bills and caring for sick loved-ones. Most Americans don’t have the luxury of engaging in political disagreements – they’re just trying to hang on another day.


July 29, 2020

Expand food assistance and stimulate Ohio’s economy

Increasing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by at least 15% in the next federal relief package would stimulate the economy, protect children’s health and make sure all Ohioans have enough to eat. Congress must boost SNAP now.


July 28, 2020

Senate Republican COVID package falls short

As the COVID-19 virus surges and unemployment claims remain high, Republicans in the U.S. Senate put forward a COVID-19 aid package that falls far short of what Ohioans need to get through the pandemic and recession it has caused. 


July 27, 2020

CARES Act higher ed funding formula skewed in favor of for-profit schools

In the midst of unprecedented threats to colleges and universities, federal aid was distributed using a formula that favored for-profit schools over more effective public institutions. The next round of spending must focus on public schools.


July 17, 2020

JobWatch: June job report shows continued gains

Steering the economy back to health means keeping people healthy. Job gains are welcome when Ohioans can safely return to work, but the surge in new coronavirus cases shows there is more to be done to control the pandemic’s spread. That means workplace safety protocols and extended unemployment.


July 16, 2020

Experts, officials say Ohio’s cities need relief

Across Ohio, people are doing their part to take care of themselves and each other by wearing masks, staying home, and supporting local businesses. But individual acts aren't enough to get us through this crisis. Local governments need federal funding to continue essential services and keep employing the people who provide them.

Watch the press conference here.


July 15, 2020

400,000 Ohioans missing out on $360 million in stimulus payments

Ohioans risk missing out on federal stimulus payments provided through the recent CARES Act if they don’t file a form to receive them. The funds would help people who are struggling to make ends meet, and give state and local economies a much-needed boost.


July 14, 2020

Advocates, experts and physicians call on Senate to boost Medicaid funding in next stimulus

Policy Matters, Physicians Action Network, Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio and Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio called on Sens. Portman and Brown to protect Ohioans’ health and the state economy by boosting federal funding for Medicaid in the next COVID-19 relief package.

Watch the press conference here.


July 9, 2020

Bolster support for child care to stabilize Ohio

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on the child care industry in Ohio and across the nation, including layoffs, closures and major declines in enrollment. Child care providers need federal relief now to prevent additional closures.

Watch the press conference here.


July 7, 2020

Protect essential services with public resources

Instead of cutting public services we need to get through the pandemic and recession, Ohio’s elected leaders should reverse tax cuts that have benefitted the wealthiest, ensure profitable corporations and partnerships pay their fair share, and tighten the spigot on the $10 billion annual loss of state resources to tax breaks.


June 30, 2020

Advocates tell Ohio Senate to take action now to fix unemployment compensation

The Ohio House passed a bill to create a committee to report on the deeply flawed UC system, but the bill stalled in the Senate. In a press conference, Research Director Zach Schiller said, “Ohio policymakers must listen to the voices of our hundreds of thousands of unemployed.”

Watch the press conference here.


June 26, 2020

Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans could lose health care during pandemic

A Kaiser Family Foundation study estimates 1,002,000 Ohioans and their family members lost employer-sponsored health insurance in the first two months of the pandemic lock-down. The ACA and Medicaid protected most of them. Now, the Trump administration and 18 state attorneys general have asked the Supreme Court to strike down the entire ACA.


June 24, 2020

Declaring racism a public health crisis must be backed up with action

In testimony delivered before the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee, Policy Liaison Jasmine Ayres called on lawmakers to declare racism a public health crisis and make sure Black Ohioans aren’t deterred from fully participating in democracy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


June 19, 2020

Return to work order a win for Ohioans

Policy Matters Ohio and the Ohio Poverty Law Center asked Gov. DeWine to allow unemployed Ohioans to refuse an offer to return to work and continue receiving benefits if they had real, justifiable reasons. Gov. Mike DeWine has signed an executive order that moves us in the right direction. 


June 4, 2020

Governor DeWine: Include Unemployment Compensation in Ohio's integrated benefits system

Policy Matters led a coalition that pressed the governor to make sure every Ohioan who applies for Unemployment Compensation is also aware of other programs that can help them and their families make ends meet. Read our letter to the governor here


June 2, 2020

Protect public resources that support Ohioans

Federal aid, rainy day funds and targeted tax hikes on the wealthy will preserve jobs and demand in local economies, and help communities recover.


May 22, 2020

JobWatch: Record number of Ohioans laid off amid pandemic

More than a fifth of Ohio’s working people lost their jobs in the coronavirus shut-down. Policymakers must push substantial fiscal stimulus to state and local governments to avoid a prolonged depression.


May 21, 2020

Improving federal COVID assistance

The HEROES Act that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives is a strong bill, but it could be stronger. Leaders in D.C. must boost aid to meet need, make funding flexible, continue funding until jobs have returned and make sure it gets to the people who need it most.


May 20, 2020

COVID-19 is hitting communities of color hardest

No matter what you look like or where you come from, everyone deserves a healthy life. Gov. DeWine's Minority Health Strike Force can address health disparities and the divisive policies that create them.


May 19, 2020

Draft plan to reopen Ohio schools shows some promise on safety and equity

Ohio's plan for reopening schools commits us to creating great, safe and healthy schools for every kid, no matter what they look like or where they come from. We need our lawmakers to follow through on that commitment.


May 20, 2020

Death rate in Ohio prisons 10x higher than rate for state’s total population

People who are incarcerated and people who work with them are at increased risk, as are their families and communities. 


May 18, 2020

Avoid layoffs with Shared Work Ohio

A voluntary program called Shared Work Ohio allows employers to avoid layoffs and workers to receive unemployment benefits proportionate to the time they don’t work. Working people keep their jobs and benefits, while employers retain their workers and avoid the need to hire and train new workers when demand recovers.

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May 14, 2020

Ohio after COVID-19: Looking to the future, learning from history

Government response will determine how painful the COVID crisis and accompanying recession will be. During the recession of 2008, poor policy decisions hamstrung Ohio's recovery. State and federal officials can do better this time.


May 7, 2020

Putting JobsOhio to work for Ohioans

Ohio’s privatized economic development agency, JobsOhio, can use its considerable resources to create jobs and help Ohioans.


May 6, 2020

Put down the ax, pick up the umbrella

Governor Mike DeWine announced budget cuts totalling $775 million, mostly to education ($465 million) and Medicaid ($211 million). The scale of these cuts is staggering. The governor has better options.


May 6, 2020

Essential workers are working in a biohazard and need proper training

Our allies at the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center (CIWC) have the resources to lead large-scale worker and volunteer hazmat training programs. Those resources are critical now to protect workers, volunteers and the people they serve. Learn more in this blog post from CIWC Director Brennan Grayson.


May 5, 2020

Clarify “suitable work” and “good cause” as applied in Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Program’s COVID-19 work refusal policy

The DeWine administration's guidance on eligibility for unemployment compensation may result in more people getting sick and less accountability for employers. Policy Matters and the Ohio Poverty Law Center sent a letter to Gov. DeWine to spell out our concerns and our recommendations.


May 1, 2020

Four essential policies to sustain Ohio’s working people through the pandemic

With smart, compassionate policy, we can ensure everyone has a fair shot at a decent life, free from economic insecurity. This report offers four practical policy solutions our leaders can implement today to get Ohioans through this difficult time.


May 1, 2020

Working for less 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic grips Ohio, working people in low-paying jobs are on the front lines. But the low-pay road leads working Ohioans to struggle and hardship. New employment data prove it. This series of fact sheets illustrates the prevalence of low-wage jobs across the state and in 11 metro areas.


April 23, 2020

Jobless claims still climbing, but fewer last week

Alleviating hardship for workers displaced by this crisis is critical, and getting it right is the way to prevent a short-term disruption from becoming a protracted recession.


April 21, 2020

Now is the time to stabilize families in crisis

The DeWine Administration has drawn on the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to help families through this crisis. But TANF can be used to do even more.


April 17, 2020

Out like a lion? March job report closed the books too early to see COVID-19’s toll

The number of initial unemployment claims filed in the past four weeks--855,197-- exceeds the total for 2018 and 2019 combined. Adams, Clinton, Logan and Union Counties experienced their highest filings last week.


April 16, 2020

Show me the money: The facts on stimulus payments

Many Ohioans don't know if they qualify for a stimulus payment, or how to get it if they do. We created this fact sheet to help people--including those who have no or little income, or who have insecure housing--claim their stimulus check. 


April 15, 2020

Letter to Attorney General Yost

Policy Matters Ohio, College Now Greater Cleveland, Ohio Student Association and Innovation Ohio jointly request Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost stop his office's collection of student debt owed to Ohio higher educational institutions during the coronavirus pandemic.


April 14, 2020

Ohio appears to fall behind with new unemployment programs

Ohio is nowhere near providing new federally funded benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers and others who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Neighboring states have already got the ball rolling.


April 13, 2020

People with loved ones who are incarcerated in Ohio prisons joined with six advocacy organizations to urge Governor DeWine to quickly release from Ohio’s corrections facilities people who are at low risk for recidivism or high risk for contracting COVID-19. Video of the event is available in two parts below, along with a link to a supporting blog post by Policy Matters Researcher Piet van Lier.

Other supplementary materials such as family photos and videos from people who are incarcerated can be found here.


April 9, 2020

Record jobless claims new normal in coronavirus shutdown

Policymakers can act now to avoid the mistakes they made during and after the Great Recession. Stimulus spending must prioritize working people and families to get the economy running again.


April 8, 2020

Harnessing Ohio's resources to take on COVID-19

Government’s role must be to mitigate health and economic damage by supporting people and families. When the crisis passes and it’s time to rebuild, policymakers must make sure everyone is included in the recovery. 


April 7, 2020

Ohio's food assistance policy in the time of pandemic

No matter our differences, we all need to eat. We all want to support our families and live with dignity. Now is the time for our leaders to make policy choices that help all people -- not just the wealthy and powerful few.


April 6, 2020

Local news is good for our health

Journalists at the Cleveland Plain Dealer are producing excellent content that helps readers understand the pandemic, protect ourselves and stay connected to our community. They’re also providing a service that experts monitoring public health depend on – which makes last week’s news all the more crushing.


April 2, 2020

Ohio jobless claims top last week’s record high

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) today reported that jobless claims reached 272,117 for the week ending March 28, up 84,328 from the prior week’s record high of 187,789.


March 31, 2020

Voices of COVID-19: A letter from the inside

Policy Matters Ohio urged state officials to include incarcerated Ohioans in their response to COVID-19. Not long after that, Researcher Piet van Lier received a letter from a man being held in a state prison.


March 31, 2020

Lawmakers should review, reduce some tax breaks before the sirens start

State and local governments face soaring needs but dwindling tax collections as the COVID-19 epidemic grinds the economy to a near halt. This year, the state legislature will miss out on $9 billion in state revenue via tax breaks. The committee charged with scrutinizing these expenditures has been sidelined.


March 27, 2020

Increase funding for free tax preparation to support low-income families during the COVID-19 crisis

Free tax preparation programs help filers who are paid low wages keep more of their refund. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, this service is critical. 


March 26, 2020

Ohio jobless claims hit record highs amid coronavirus crisis

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported that jobless claims for Ohio soared to 187,789 for the week ending March 21 from 7,042 a week earlier. This is an historic high. These weekly numbers top the monthly filings of all but Ohio’s worst month on record.


March 25, 2020

Federal, state COVID-19 bills offer support, but more is needed

The economic contraction we’re experiencing is necessary to fight the pandemic and save lives. We need policy supports to help workers and families stay afloat through the crisis.


March 24, 2020

Medicaid's dual role: Health care and fiscal stimulus

When they created Medicaid more than 50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson and members of Congress structured the program to grow at times like this, providing health care to people who need it and supporting hospitals and the health care system. At the same time, Medicaid pumps funds into the economy through the paychecks of hospital and health care workers.


March 24, 2020

Federal COVID-19 response must include support for child care

As families, communities, and lawmakers in Ohio and Washington grapple with the COVID-19 crisis, child care remains a central pillar for family security and stability. Child care is also critical to our nation’s economy. Yet, for decades, state and federal policymakers have failed to ensure all parents can get high-quality, affordable child care.


March 23, 2020

With revenue about to plunge, Cleveland Council should delay vote on Sherwin-Williams incentive package

The prospect of an economic downturn makes it unwise for city council to approve the incentives at this time. State policymakers should also think twice about supporting the deal, and in particular subsidizing the move of the company’s research facilities from Warrensville Heights and Cleveland to Brecksville.


March 19, 2020

Governor, judges must include incarcerated Ohioans in COVID-19 response

The DeWine administration has done little to protect youth and adults incarcerated in Ohio’s prisons, jails, detention centers and halfway houses from the coronavirus outbreak. We recommend immediate state-level action. 


March 18, 2020

COVID-19: The federal response and Ohio

The federal government has started to provide resources states will need to protect public health, treat people who are sick and bolster the economy. 


Unemployment compensation (UC) is a crucial support to families and communities. With an unknown but possibly large threat to the economy looming in coronavirus, Ohio policymakers should broaden and reinforce UC so that Ohio workers, their families and neighborhoods can sustain themselves through hard times.


Policymakers can protect Ohioans through paid sick days and increased funding for public health

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