Saturday Stats: Policy by the numbers
Posted July 25, 2020 in eNews
100*: Number of organizations that have signed on to the Reimagine Appalachia blueprint, the massive, four-state project helmed by Senior Researcher Amanda Woodrum. The policy platform outlines a "New Deal that Works for Us,” prioritizing good union jobs in a 21st century economy centered on creating a healthy, sustainable future for the Ohio River Valley region. Check out the video below to get a sense of the scope and spirit of this visionary, ambitious piece of work. You might even recognize the narrator’s voice: It belongs to our own Executive Director, Hannah Halbert!
*By the time you read this, the number will likely have grown; we’re gaining new endorsements all the time!!
$358,000,000: Amount of federal stimulus funds that should go to Ohioans, but could be left on the table if eligible individuals don’t file paperwork soon. Project Director Kalitha Williams looks at the state-level numbers in the recent national report from our allies at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). We need state leaders to do aggressive outreach to the nearly 400,000 Ohioans who aren’t automatically enrolled to receive payment. They’re some of the people who most need the stimulus, and getting cash to them is crucial to our economic recovery.
$1.2 billion; $350 million: Respectively, the amount of Ohio’s federal CARES Act funding earmarked for local governments, and the amount actually distributed to communities so far. Why the discrepancy? Because Congress restricted those funds to “new costs related to COVID-19," according to a new report from Senior Project Director Wendy Patton. That means towns and cities around Ohio can’t use CARES Act funds to help pay for services we count on, like emergency and public health services, trash pickup and traffic control. And with massive shortfalls in local budgets, those services are in imminent danger. We promoted the report with a press call featuring local leaders from around the state, who described the growing need for more flexible funding to keep our communities running.
196,725: Number by which Ohio’s Medicaid enrollment rose between February and June, according to a new report from CBPP. These unprecedented numbers mean the federal government needs to step up its share of Medicaid spending. (It did so in the spring, but the need has only grown since then.) Wendy joined leaders from the Physicians Action Network, Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio and Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio in calling on Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to protect our health and our economy by boosting federal funding for Medicaid for as long as this crisis lasts.
$600: Weekly amount by which unemployment payments have been increased thanks to Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), which is set to expire at the end of this month. As Research Director Zach Schiller points out in an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer, that supplement pumps more than $400 million a week into Ohio’s economy, helping families afford necessities like rent, food and electricity. That’s critical for families, and especially for women and Black and Latinx workers, all of whom were disproportionately likely to file unemployment claims between March and May.
554,600: Number of jobs missing from Ohio as of June, compared with June 2019. In the latest JobWatch, Researcher Michael Shields breaks down monthly jobs data and calls out Congress’s lack of action on PUC. Mike warns that the scheduled expiration of the $600 supplement creates a fiscal cliff that will stifle any progress toward economic recovery, and that the surge in new coronavirus cases shows there is more to be done to control the pandemic’s spread. That means workplace safety protocols along with extended unemployment, because healthy people make for a healthy economy.
$300 million: Amount by which Governor Mike DeWine cut K-12 funding for the fiscal year ending in June. He’s now declared his intention to keep “funding at that flat level” until revenue increases. That’s leaving schools with huge gaps in their budgets for the coming year, when what they need is an increase in targeted funding to allow a safe restart. In an op-ed for the Columbus Dispatch, Research Consultant Piet van Lier describes how federal and state leaders must step up now to minimize health risks and disruption come September.
$500 billion: Amount of federal relief called for by One Ohio Now in an email campaign to members of Congress. That’s the level of spending we need—and a good example of the scale that only the federal government can reach. Wendy Patton joined a coalition press conference with members of the Ohio Education Association, the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, the American Association of University Professors and the Hunger Network in Ohio to demand Congress put people and communities first in the next round of stimulus.