Build it better
Posted February 03, 2015 in eNews
In this e-news: Hard times at city halls; a community benefit policy takes shape; Ohio's tax and spending policies have left the state falling behind.
Hard times at city halls – A double whammy of lagging property values and more than $400 million in state funding cuts has left Ohio communities struggling. Senior project director Wendy Patton’s report explains that some 41,000 jobs have been cut from local governments, and many communities have had to raise tax rates to maintain services.
Building a better community – Researcher Amanda Woodrum helped craft a Community Benefit and Opportunity Initiative for Cuyahoga County. The measure would strengthen the local economy, create more living-wage jobs, include formerly excluded workers and increase energy efficiency. It’s a win-win approach that helps workers, community and the environment. We’re pumped to work with new county leadership to make it a reality.
Building a better budget – Ten years of tax and budget cuts have depleted about $3 billion from needed services and left Ohio lagging. Policy Matters’ report, A Budget That Works, creates a map to move Ohio in the right direction, by investing in people, institutions and infrastructure. “Ohio is falling behind other states in important areas that drive opportunity and underpin quality,” writes Wendy Patton.
Kasich plan falls short - Gov. John Kasich on Monday released his budget, which includes some needed initiatives (Medicaid! Hallelujah!) but contains more ill-advised tax policies and revenue cuts for our schools and communities. The package will further tilt the tax system in favor of the wealthiest Ohioans, and divert $500 million in tax cuts that would be better spent on needed services.
In the media – Research director Zach Schiller weighed in on Ohio’s upside-down tax system, where the richest pay less and the rest of us pay more, in an op-ed on Cleveland.com. Executive Director Amy Hanauer will appear on WCPN’s Sound of Ideas program tomorrow, Wed, Feb. 4, to decipher Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal. The Toledo Blade called on state leaders to hold charter schools accountable, citing the work of a coalition that urged the closing of Concept Schools, a charter operator that has been accused of racism, cheating and other misconduct. Researcher Michael Shields’ report on FirstEnergy Corp.’s effort to have consumers subsidize two inefficient, outdated power plants drew lots of attention, and a stinging rebuke of the proposal detailed by The Plain Dealer. Policy liaison Kalitha Williams led a press conference in Columbus, where advocates for the working poor urged lawmakers to improve the Ohio Earned Income Tax Credit to help lift families out of poverty.
TED talk – Amy Hanauer will speak at “TEDxSHHS”, a TED event hosted by the Shaker Heights High School International Baccalaureate class of 2015, on Sat, Feb. 7. The program features speakers from around the nation, all tackling the theme “Inspiring Curiosity.” Advance tickets only, here.
Moving up – Congrats to Shanelle Smith who will become the first deputy director of Cuyahoga County’s new Department of Sustainability. Since 2010, Smith has been the Cleveland director of the Emerald Cities Collaborative, housed at Policy Matters. The county announced her appointment today, working alongside new director, Mike Foley, another visionary leader. Hanauer credited Smith with moving Emerald Cities Cleveland from idea to reality, “working on the ground with communities all over Northeast Ohio to advance conservation and sustainable energy, while creating great jobs for a diverse workforce.”
Keep clicking! – We appreciate all who follow us on social media. Please help us keep growing by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss videos like this, which in 48 seconds gives you a primer on Ohio budget priorities!