More than 1,000 endorse call for a people's budget
Posted June 27, 2023 in Press Releases
Policy Matters Ohio yesterday delivered the following letter to Conference Committee members, House and Senate leadership and members of the DeWine administration. The letter, signed by 98 state and local organizations and more than 900 individuals, urges Ohio leaders to prioritize the health and well-being of Ohioans in the state budget.
Policy Matters Project Director Will Petrik, who authored the letter with input from several organizations that serve children, adults and families, said, “Our elected leaders need to take a stand for all Ohioans. Ohio can be the best state to raise a family. We can build a state where all children have a world-class education and all parents can afford high-quality child care. We can build a state where all people have enough food to eat, a roof over their head, and the health care we all need to thrive. Let's invest in what really matters — our education, our well-being and our future.”
The text of the letter is below. A PDF version, including a list of signatories, is available here.
June 26, 2023
Re: Urgent action needed to protect the health and well-being of Ohioans in the final state budget
Dear Governor DeWine, Senate President Huffman, House Speaker Stephens, Minority Leader Russo, Minority Leader Antonio, and members of the Conference Committee:
Every Ohioan should be able to live a happy, healthy life, no matter their race, gender, or ZIP code. That’s why we encourage you to pass a state budget that provides a foundation of health and economic security for all Ohioans.
Instead of setting up a better future, the Senate’s proposed budget would deprive children of school meals and make it harder for thousands of Ohioans to put food on the table. It would prevent children and pregnant women from getting the health care they need. It does little to help more working families afford child care and it would add new barriers that would remove people from SNAP and Medicaid. Compared to the budget passed by the House, the Senate-passed budget defunds public schools, child care, health care (Medicaid) for children and pregnant people, school meals, food banks, affordable housing for pregnant women and babies, and services for older adults.
Instead of providing more security and stability for Ohioans, the Senate majority chose to prioritize a billion-dollar sales tax holiday in 2024 and to provide over $1.5 billion per year in tax cuts that would mostly benefit the rich and large corporations. They also included a universal voucher program that will send public funds to wealthy Ohioans who are already sending their kids to private schools. State lawmakers have cut income taxes for the wealthiest Ohioans for 18 years, and Ohio continues to fall behind the nation on jobs, wages and overall quality of life indicators. More tax cuts for the wealthy will inevitably lead to cuts to education, health care and essential services we all need in future budgets.
We can and must do better.
Ohio can be the best state to raise a family. We can build a state where all children have a world-class education and all parents can afford to send their children to a high-quality child care setting. We can build a state where all people have enough food to eat and a roof over their head. We can build a state where everyone has access to physical and behavioral health care. Let’s invest in what really matters — our education, our well-being and our future.
In order to move Ohio in this direction, we ask that you pass a budget that ensures:
Ohioans can live with economic security and dignity.
- Restore $4.2 million / year to ensure more students can access healthy school meals at no cost.
- Restore $15 million/year in additional funding for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks for a total of $39.55 million/year to put food on the table for millions of Ohioans.
- Restore funding for Healthy Beginnings at Home, which provides stable housing for at-risk pregnant women and babies while advancing an evidence-based approach to improve Ohio’s infant mortality rate and reduce Medicaid spending.
- Restore $40 million for the Healthy Aging grants to help older adults stay in their homes.
- Remove the SNAP photo ID and the Medicaid work requirements that would limit Ohioans ability to get the food and health care assistance they need.
Ohioans get the health coverage they need to have a great quality of life.
- Restore the expansion of health coverage (Medicaid) for children and pregnant women in families with income up to 300% of the federal poverty level.
- Restore continuous Medicaid eligibility for children age 0-3.
- Restore the inclusion of doulas services in Medicaid.
Parents get the child care they need; more children start Kindergarten ready to learn.
- Restore the expansion of publicly funded child care to 15,000 more children (boost initial eligibility for publicly funded child care up to 160% of the federal poverty level).
- Restore the $150 million to help people in critical occupations afford child care.
- Restore the $15 million / year to expand infant and toddler care in Appalachia and areas with high infant mortality rates.
All Ohio kids have the opportunity to get a high-quality public education.
- Restore the House investment in the fair school funding plan so that students can get what they need in schools and educators can get the pay increases they deserve to thrive.
- Remove SB 1, which would strip the power from the State Board of Education, and SB 83, which is an attack on academic freedom and labor rights in public colleges and universities, from the final budget.
- Remove the massive school voucher expansion from the budget.
We have the resources to invest in Ohio’s future.
- Remove the Senate income tax cut that would mostly benefit the wealthiest Ohioans, the business tax cut (CAT tax) that would mostly benefit bigger businesses and the poorly targeted sales tax holiday.
Thank you for your leadership and your ongoing commitment to serve the people of Ohio and make Ohio the best state to live, work, age, and raise a family. By championing these measures, you have an opportunity to make a significant positive impact on the lives of countless Ohioans. We, the undersigned organizations and Ohio residents, stand united in our support for these changes to the final state budget and our hope for a better future for all Ohioans.
More than 1,000 state & local organizations and concerned Ohioans
[A full list of signatories is included in the attached PDF.]