Eyes wide open: January news from Policy Matters
Posted January 10, 2017 in eNews
Ohio policymakers have made moves to cut funding to schools and local communities, reward the wealthiest, threaten unemployment compensation and more. Policy Matters is there every step of the way to explain what’s happening, block bad ideas when we can and promote a vision of a better Ohio. Some recent action:
Education Policy fellow Victoria Jackson examined the troubling decline in educators once protected by the “5 of 8 rule.” Until 2015, the rule required all Ohio schools to have at least five of eight of the following positions for every 1,000 students: music, art and physical-education teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses, social workers and visiting teachers. Following the report’s release the Akron Beacon Journal and Toledo Blade called for the rule to be reinstated.
Budget basics Our website features a new budget button to help you find all the budget essentials in one place. It includes a Budget Primer that explains how the state budget process works, where the money comes from and where it goes. Required reading for anyone monitoring the state budget this year.
Local government Our report on the devastating consequences of more than $1billion in cuts to the Local Government Fund made a splash around the state and captured the attention of the governor’s office. Mayors from cities such as Lorain and Parma affirmed that the cuts have forced them to make tough choices and do more with less.
Flat tax We joined forces with the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) to caution Ohio against moving to a flat state income tax. A legislative committee is considering how to move the state to a flat rate of 3.5 or 3.75 percent. We found most people end up paying more, but a tiny, powerful few get big breaks.
Big wins in a tough lame duck Legislators advanced a slew of bad policies during the November-December session. Unions, environmentalists, human service advocates and other amazing activists stood up to stop what they could. We were proud to play a part in helping stop major cuts to unemployment benefits; establish a committee to review Ohio’s nearly $9 billion in tax breaks; and preserve the important work done by state agencies. We applauded Governor Kasich’s veto of bills that would scrap Ohio’s clean energy standards and give away huge tax breaks to the oil and gas industry, both areas where we’ve done research.