Setting the Agenda: News from Policy Matters
Posted April 27, 2018 in eNews
Framing the debate: Democratic gubernatorial candidates had one last chance to make their case to Northeast Ohio last week. Joe Schiavoni, Richard Cordray, Dennis Kucinich and Bill O’Neill debated before a standing room only crowd in Cleveland Heights, where they articulated their visions for Ohio. With Ivan Conard of the Young Black Dems, our director Amy Hanauer moderated the debate, pushing for straight answers to questions about jobs, education, clean energy and more. You can stream video of the event here, or listen to ideastream’s coverage here. Early voting is already under way, and Primary Day is May 8th. See you at the polls!
Platform in Progress: In this crucial election year, Ohio needs candidates who embrace a research-based progressive platform. A Winning Economic Agenda for Ohio’s Working Families provides that. The report, a collaboration with our friends at Innovation Ohio, proposes investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, childcare and education. It calls to restore adequate taxes, protect workers, and reduce discrimination, addiction and incarceration. And it is a living document: We’ll fold in feedback from people across the state, gathered at public forums throughout the summer. Huge thanks to our Hannah Halbert and IO’s Terra Goodnight for doing the heavy lifting to get this report to press. The first forum is May 16th in Columbus. Stay tuned for details!
If there were any doubt: The Trump Tax law showers benefits on the most affluent Ohioans, while cutting the basics for the rest of us. Get the details in a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Our Zach Schiller’s Tax Day release, finds that middle-income Ohioans average an $800 cut, while the top one percent take home an additional $40,190. The result will be an estimated $1.9 trillion deficit explosion. To pay for it, the Trump administration and its allies in Congress plan to squeeze American workers and caregivers, blocking access to crucial safety net programs for millions.
SNAP works, new bill doesn’t: To pay for these lavish tax cuts, the House Agriculture Committee passed the Farm Bill, which threatens over 1.4 million Ohioans who need food assistance to get enough to eat. It erects needless barriers by expanding work requirements, stiffening penalties, and cutting off food aid for hungry Americans. Victoria Jackson’s new report finds these measures fail to increase employment, don’t help the economy, and leave millions of Americans hungrier. Contact your congress member now to resist this cruel, counterproductive bill.
What would you do with $9 billion?: Like other state spending, tax expenditures should have a purpose, and should be regularly evaluated to determine effectiveness. Last year’s HB 9 established the Tax Expenditure Review Committee to do just that. Ohio spends $9 billion annually on these breaks. Zach recently testified, advocating careful analysis and regular reapproval of every tax expenditure, rather than allowing them to continue indefinitely. Contact your legislator if you can think of better ways than tax breaks to spend $9 billion.
Communication Director Caitlin Johnson, in the Policy Matters office
Paid family leave: Communications Director Caitlin Johnson will have her first child in June! While we’ll likely pressure her to bring the little guy in for a visit, we offer paid leave, and we plan to let her spend her first few months of motherhood bonding with her son and getting her bearings as a new mom. In her recent blog, Caitlin acknowledges how fortunate she is: Only 13% of American private sector workers have access to paid leave. Policy can fix this and Ohio leaders are stepping up: State Reps. Janine Boyd and Kristin Boggs, and State Sen. Charleta Tavares have proposed bills to create the Ohio Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program. Check out the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network’s advocacy toolkit for ways you can promote the bill.
Sarah Silverman and Policy Matters: Comedian Sarah Silverman called out Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Twitter for his low pay of workers. Check out this video to see where those findings came from. Want the receipts? Check Zach’s recent research on Amazon’s exploitative practices.
Out and about: In the last two weeks, Amy moderated the Democratic governor’s forum; Victoria moderated a panel on “Realizing education potential” at Case’s Schubert Center for Child Studies; we co-hosted a screening of the documentary Zero Weeks with a panel discussion, moderated by Caitlin and featuring Representative Boyd and a representative from SEIU Local 1; Zach testified on tax expenditures; and Wendy testified on the sales tax exemption for oil and gas companies.
Coming up: On Saturday, the Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues and Progress holds its 23rd annual leadership conference, including A Community Conversation on the Status of the Hispanic/Latinx Community, with our Daniel Ortiz. Wendy Patton will appear on In Focus with Mike Kallmeyer to discuss Medicaid work requirements on Spectrum Cable channels 1311, 510, and 511, Sunday, April 29 at 10:30 and 11:30 am, and Monday at 7:30 am. Amanda Woodrum will be on Face the State with Scott Light for a roundtable on health care and Medicaid on WBNS TV10 in Columbus Sunday, May 6th at 11:30 am. Cynthia Connolly will host a table top at Cleveland Public Theater’s event Station Hope on May 5th as part of their Activate Hope installation, from 6:30-10:00 pm at St. John’s. Tune in or join us at these great community conversations.