Policy Matters calls for a state budget that invests in people, communities
Posted February 22, 2019 in Press Releases
In coming weeks, Governor Mike DeWine will release his proposal for the 2020-2021 state budget. After years of tax cuts for the wealthy and widening loopholes for special interests, crucial services that support Ohio’s people and communities have been deprived of sufficient funding to meet Ohio’s needs.
From public schools to public transit, Policy Matters Ohio is calling on the governor and state legislators to end the trend of disinvestment. Today the organization is releasing 25 recommendations for increased investment in the next state budget.
“Ohio’s greatest resource is our people,” said Policy Matters Senior Project Director Wendy Patton. “For too long, our budgets haven’t reflected that. Years of cuts have starved schools of the funding they need to educate our kids. Our local transit agencies have raised fares and cut routes. Too many people struggling with addiction can’t access treatment. We have the resources to meet Ohio’s needs, but we’ve been spending them on the wrong things.”
Beginning under Governor Bob Taft in 2005, Ohio tax policy has benefited the wealthy, corporations and special interests with income tax cuts, the elimination of the tax on corporate profits and tax breaks that have grown to $9 billion a year. Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of Ohioans, earning on average $1.3 million a year, pay about $41,000 less annually in state taxes than they did in 2005, while typical middle- and low-income residents pay the same or more. Meanwhile, between 2006 and 2017, the number of Ohioans living in poverty grew by 115,000.
“If cutting taxes helped Ohio’s economy, we’d have fewer people living in poverty, not more,” Patton said. “In the next state budget, Ohio policymakers should stop directing revenue to those at the very top and invest instead in programs that build strong communities.”
Policy Matters’ recommendations for the 2020-2021 state budget include:
- Restoring the Local Government Fund
- Investing at least $150 million a year in public transit
- Reforming Ohio’s Earned Income Tax Credit to lift more working Ohioans out of poverty
- Raising eligibility for public child care aid to 200 percent of poverty
- Maintaining and protecting Medicaid expansion without adding new barriers
- Spending $840,000 a year to staff the Tax Expenditure Review Committee
- Investing $256 million a year to help schools that serve disadvantaged students