Saturday Stats: The power of good policy
Posted September 17, 2021 in Press Releases
240,000+: Congress allowed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits to expire this month – pushing out 240,273 Ohioans just as COVID surged and hiring faltered. Michael Shields has the latest numbers in the August JobWatch report, which shows Ohio employers cut 2,400 jobs last month. More proof that Ohioans need policymakers to keep leveraging all the tools in the toolbox to make sure everyone gets back on their feet.
53 million: Even in the face of mass layoffs due to COVID, government programs like pandemic unemployment insurance, social security, expanded food assistance, stimulus checks, and the child tax credit helped keep an estimated 53 million people out of poverty. State Policy Fellow Tanisha Pruitt, Ph.D. looked at the initial data and says it proves that government can be a powerful force to strengthen families and care for all people, no exceptions. State tuned for her deeper dive next week.
3.7%: Tanisha also released analysis of the Fair School Funding Plan, which shows that districts that primarily serve Black and brown kids will get a 3.7% increase in funding from the state. All districts, no matter how much money residents have or what they look like, will get a boost, but Tanisha says the plan helps make up for years of underserving and excluding Ohio kids of color under the old system.
75%: In 2018, 75% of Ohio voters approved the ballot amendment that aimed to end partisan gerrymandering by creating a bipartisan commission to draw legislative districts. This week, along party lines, the commission approved maps that might be even more rigged to Republicans’ advantage than the current ones. Days before the vote, Communications Director Caitlin Johnson joined hundreds of other Ohioans in urging the commission to adhere to the process voters laid out and make sure all Ohioans, no matter where they live or what they look like, can pick their leaders.
More than double: Last year, the unemployment rate for Black Ohioans (15%) was more than double the rate for white Ohioans (6.8%). That is one of the troubling findings from the “State of Working Ohio” report we release every Labor Day. COVID-19 exacerbated long-standing structural barriers that hold down wages for Black, brown and immigrant workers and exclude them from job opportunities. For more findings, read the report by Michael and intern Vivian Jacobs.
Two-thirds: Although two-thirds of the people who live in Cleveland are Black or brown, two-thirds of the police force is white. That’s just one of the telling numbers Wendy Patton and Piet van Lier highlighted in their op-ed in Sunday’s Plain Dealer. The Cleveland Department of Police has a troubling record of violence, they wrote. That’s why it’s time for city leaders to reimagine community safety and incorporate strategies that don’t require armed law enforcement.
The fight for fair districts isn’t over yet. Join All on the Line Ohio Monday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. to get a review of the maps just passed by the Redistricting Commission, discuss the next steps on the Congressional maps, and recognize all the Ohioans who spoke up for their communities.
On Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., Policy Matters will join our partners the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Federation of Teachers and the Ohio Education Association to celebrate the teachers, parents, faith, community and labor leaders who teamed up to pass the Fair School Funding Plan. We’ll also discuss the next steps to ensure Ohio’s public schools are fully and fairly funded. Register here.
Also on Sept. 21, Our friends at Red Wine and Blue, Innovation Ohio and others will be in Columbus for a “Read In” to support teaching accurate history. Go here to learn more.
On Sept. 29, at 12 p.m. the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Ohio Coalition of the REASON Project are hosting a conversation to examine the barriers that put higher education out of reach for too many Black and brown Ohioans. Register here.