Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement as a number of Democratic-backed policy provisions contained within the state’s two-year state budget went into effect Oct. 17.

“I’m proud of the work our members did on this budget, securing a number of commonsense Democratic priorities to improve the lives of working people and families. Priorities like eliminating the bottom two tax brackets and increasing salaries for our teachers reaffirm our commitment to working together to restore our state’s promise of better lives and brighter futures for all, and we look forward to working together, as Democrats and Republicans, to continue delivering results for Ohio taxpayers and to continue moving our state forward.”

Beginning this week and extending into the coming months, here are some of the changes Ohioans will begin to notice that Democrats fought for:

  • The elimination of the tax burden for people making less than $21,750 to provide a much-needed tax break to those who need it most;

  • The creation of a lead-abatement tax credit to make it more affordable for families to rid their homes of poisonous lead;

  • The increase of the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 to deter young people from starting dangerous habits;

  • Making foster caregivers mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect to protect the safety and security of all Ohio children;

  • Including places of worship to the list of organizations that can administer naloxone in an emergency to combat the opioid epidemic;

  • Allowing for pharmacists to make customers aware of cheaper medications that may be available to them to help alleviate the cost of prescription drugs;

  • Increasing the base salary for teachers from $20,000 to $30,000 to provide a more livable wage to those who mold the minds of tomorrow;

  • Requiring high-poverty public schools now offer breakfast to all enrolled students during the school day ensuring no one begins the school day hungry;

  • Exempting a disabled veteran from paying registration taxes or fees on a military service or valor license plate in honor of the sacrifices they have made;

  • And expanding the age and income eligibility requirements for the Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Project breast cancer screening and diagnostic services so more women’s lives can be saved by early diagnosis.

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