The People's Think Tank: News from Policy Matters
Posted May 12, 2018 in eNews
May Day in Cincinnati: Last week we celebrated International Workers’ Day, rallying to honor the contributions of labor movements around the world. Amy Hanauer delivered the keynote address to the Interfaith Workers’ Center’s annual fundraiser, praising the power of recent actions by teachers’ unions, and calling Policy Matters “the labor movement’s think tank, the community organizer’s think tank, the people’s think tank.” Mike Shields was honored with an award for leading a coalition to preserve workers’ compensation for immigrants in Ohio. Check out this live-stream he and Hannah Halbert did on May Day history, dating back to the 1886 Haymarket uprising in Chicago.
Ray of sunshine: Six of Ohio’s 10 most common jobs pay so little that a full-time, year-round worker in a family of three qualifies for food assistance. It’s even worse in some parts of the state as Hannah showed in a bunch of fact-filled two pagers on 11 Ohio communities. Flash Ferenc on America’s Workforce Radio, grilled Hannah on “Working for less: Too many jobs pay too little.” “There’s a policy fix for that,” she told Flash. In fact, according to another of Hannah’s reports, there are ten!
I just called to say I love you, and you deserve a progressive policy agenda: Moms are the best; they deserve a round of applause, and a lot more. For example: access to food, health care, and fair pay. Cynthia Connolly describes 10 policies that show love for moms around the state.
Eggs, deer, and car parts: Ohio forgoes over $9 billion annually in uncollected taxes. These tax breaks stay on the books indefinitely and, until recently, without significant review. Some of these 129 tax expenditures definitely don’t serve a useful purpose. A giveaway for egg producers rewards companies with histories of labor and environmental abuses. Another, meant to lower the cost of materials for public projects, has expanded to include materials used in shelters for captive deer. A third has been stretched to cover repairs to cars whose warranties have expired. Wendy Patton testified, urging legislators to scrutinize, evaluate, and limit tax breaks to ensure they benefit all Ohioans, not just special interests.
One-Two Punch: Proposed changes to Ohio’s Medicaid regulations would erect new barriers to health coverage for the 700,000 Ohioans who benefit from Medicaid expansion. The rules would take away Medicaid from people who don’t get enough work hours, or who fail to prove, every month, that they have met the work requirement. Policy Matters made back-to-back media appearances: Wendy on 10TV’s Face the State with Scott Light and Amanda Woodrum, with a panel on The Sound of Ideas. Amanda summed it up: “We should be expanding Medicaid, not cutting more people off.”
Busted: Policy should be grounded in current, relevant research. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) missed that memo in its guidance to states on new Medicaid regulations. Wendy broke the story in "Medicaid work requirements deceptively cite academic research," uncovering deep flaws: CMS relied on decades-old research, and studies conducted in countries with universal health care. The upshot: when CMS offered to help states justify cuts to Medicaid, it cherry-picked data and banked on no one looking too closely. They obviously don’t know Wendy.
The flying cars we were promised: The future of transportation in Ohio isn’t set in stone. Tell the state how you think it should look. Access Ohio 2045 is hosting a series of public meetings to gather input, including one in your community, maybe. The full schedule is available here.
Out and About: Amy discussed how to move Cleveland up in job creation on NEWS 5’s coverage of a Forbes Magazine story. Cynthia represented Policy Matters at Cleveland Public Theatre’s annual Station Hope celebration of Cleveland’s past and current struggles for freedom and equity. Kalitha Williams travelled to Washington for the annual Consumer Lobby Day. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown delivered the keynote address and took a minute to pose with Kalitha.