Policy Matters issues guide to the state budget process
Posted November 25, 2020 in Press Releases
State policymakers make decisions that affect the quality of schools attended by our children, the safety of the water we drink and whether elderly people can safely age in place in their own homes. In anticipation of Gov. DeWine’s 2022-23 budget proposal, Policy Matters Ohio is releasing a guide to the state budget for advocates and interested Ohioans: “Our state. Our community. Our budget.”
“We entrust our elected leaders to use public revenue — our pooled tax dollars — to make communities stronger, people healthier and futures brighter,” Policy Matters Ohio Senior Project Director Wendy Patton said. “But their recent budgets benefited the wealthy few and corporations with tax breaks and tax cuts instead of ensuring excellent schools in every community, affordable public colleges and universities, comprehensive social services in all counties and other needed investments. We can come together and demand changes. Our guide shows where to start.”
Early in the pandemic, Congress sent federal aid, but some programs expired and others will end soon. COVID-19 cases are spiking. Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have been laid off and the federal unemployment compensation helping them get by will end the day after Christmas. The slowing economy is expected to reduce state revenue for public services Ohio families count on. If Ohio lawmakers don’t rebuild public resources and services, many Ohioans will endure even more hardship.
Too many racist policy choices at all levels of government have blocked many Black and brown Ohioans from opportunities to build wealth and live healthy lives. When the pandemic recession struck, it hit communities of color hardest. The Minority Health Strike Force outlined steps the legislature could take to improve the health of Black and brown Ohioans — recommendations that ultimately would help people of all races.
For the past 15 years state lawmakers increased special interest tax breaks to almost $10 billion a year. They’ve cut taxes so deeply that the state takes in $7 billion a year less than it would under the tax laws of 2005. The tax cuts and tax breaks benefitted corporations and the wealthiest 1%, who pay about $40,000 a year less in state taxes, on average, than they would have 15 years ago. People in the middle pay the same, on average; people of low income pay more.
“We all deserve safety, security and dignity,” Patton said. “Even before the pandemic, too many Ohioans were barely getting by, while the wealthiest residents did better than ever. It’s time for our policymakers to use the state budget to expand opportunity for everyone, no matter our race or where we live. It’s time for us to make our voices heard.”