On Wednesday, State Representative Denise Driehaus (D-Clifton) attempted to create a Tax Expenditure Review Board, which would make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor about the value of awarding tax credits to entities that receive money from the legislature. Rep. Driehaus introduced an amendment to Substitute House Bill 107 that mirrors legislation (HB 81) she introduced at the beginning of the current General Assembly.
“This is a good government initiative,” said Rep. Driehaus. “Recent reports have shown that tax-payer dollars are sometimes wasted and misused by the entities who receive them. Our state needs smart, strategic investments to weed out government spending that no longer makes sense.”
The Ohio Department of Taxation estimated that in fiscal year 2012 alone, 129 exemptions and credits amounted to more than $7 billion in foregone money to the state’s General Revenue Fund. Many tax expenditures have continued for decades without review, some of them draining the state revenues and providing financial incentives without an accounting for whether or not they serve their original purpose.
The board would consist of seven bipartisan members and would annually examine tax exemptions, credits and deductions. They would then make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor, making sure that expenditures are serving their intended purpose.
Rep. Driehaus’ amendment was tabled by Vice Chair McClain in the House Finance and Appropriations Committee with a vote of 19-10.
Democratic lawmakers today called on the Governor John Kasich to recognize the devastating opioid addiction epidemic for what it is: a public health emergency. At a statehouse press conference this morning the lawmakers said the state must have a strong, unified response and release emergency state funding to combat the statewide opioid crisis that is claiming lives in rural areas and urban centers alike.
“The first step in any road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and it’s time for the administration to recognize the opioid addiction crisis as the public health emergency that it is,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “Too many Ohio families are losing loved ones to drug addiction and overdoses. We must marshal all available state resources and attention to fight back against this rapidly growing threat to our communities.”
State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), today responded to Gov. John Kasich’s Thursday comments at the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative and the state’s actions to combat the opioid epidemic. The governor’s optimistic comments came on the same day the Ohio Department of Health released the report on 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Data stating fentanyl-related drug overdoses more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. And the numbers continue to climb. For July 2016, Summit County alone experienced an estimated 395 overdoses, which matched the total number of overdoses in the county for the four months prior combined.*
“State leaders still refuse to call the opioid epidemic what it is: a public health crisis,” said Johnson. “It is imperative we remain hopeful and positive, but only if we are also employing all available resources to the law enforcement officers and treatment providers on the front lines. There has yet to be a coherent, statewide response to this devastating public health crisis that is killing more Ohioans than ever before. Summit County is doing a tremendous job at treating and preventing overdoses in my district, but with greater funding and direction from the state, we could be doing far more.”
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced a new plan to assist struggling communities hit hardest by Governor Kasich’s budget cuts and tax shifting policies over the past several years. Since taking office, Gov. Kasich cut over $1.7 billion in local community funding. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to Kasich’s budgeting and tax decisions, and 12 small cities have lost at least $2 million each, per year.
Ohio House Democratic members hosted a press conference today to speak out against the recent attacks on women’s access to healthcare. Led by State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), the lawmakers introduced a package of bills aimed at securing and expanding women’s access to comprehensive healthcare services.
WATCH Rep. Johnson deliver her powerful closing above.