With Ohio “on the verge of recession” and continuing to trail the nation in job growth, Democratic members of the House Finance Committee Tuesday said it was time for state leaders and lawmakers to “wake up” ahead of the next round of budget deliberations


“Republicans promised trickle-down tax policies would grow our economy and create good-paying jobs, but these policies of the past have only held Ohio back from growth and opportunity,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Cera), ranking member on the House Finance Committee. “After six years in charge, Gov. Kasich now says Ohio is on the verge of a recession – and yet the state budget plan offers more of the fundamentally flawed tax shifting that got us here. Ohio’s middle class families cannot afford more of the same. It’s not working. It’s time to wake up to the on-the-ground reality in our state.”


Cera and members of the House Finance Committee noted that Ohio has fallen behind economically over the past six years Republicans have been at the helm: 


-Last month Ohio lost more jobs than any state in the nation.
-Annual Ohio job creation has consistently trailed the national average since 2005.
-Ohio is the seventh largest state, but was 28th in jobs and growth since 2009.
-Nearly 30 percent of all Ohio jobs are low-wage


“While the rest of the country is moving full speed ahead in terms of economic growth, Ohio is headed toward the edge of an economic recession,” said Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati). “Families working two or three jobs just to keep up are looking to their leaders in Columbus for an approach that creates opportunity and growth. We need to answer their call with a plan for our future, not a failed plan from the past.” 


The Cincinnati lawmaker and her colleagues underlined the fact that with less economic opportunities, the quality of life for Ohio families has unequivocally declined in recent years:


-Sixteen percent of Ohioans are living in poverty, as are 23 percent of children.
-Seventeen percent of Ohioans and 1 in 4 Ohio children are “food insecure”.
-Ohio now ranks 39th among all states on America’s Health Rankings, down from 26th in 2006.
-Ohio’s incarceration rate grew by 11 percent from 2003 to 2013.
-Ohio leads the nation in heroin and opioid overdose deaths


“We need to put our communities and our kids first,” said Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “We can’t afford to keep prioritizing tax giveaways for the ultra-rich and expect a different result – it’s not working. It’s time to wake up.” 


Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson), who sits on the House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education, expressed concern with the state’s backward slide in competitiveness among other states: 


-Ohio has dropped from 5th among all states to 23rd on Education Week’s annual quality rankings.
-Ohio ranks 37th among all states in the percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher.
-Ohio ranks 45th among all states in college affordability


“When leading businesses like Amazon look at Ohio to create new jobs or expand, community infrastructure and an educated workforce can influence whether we win or lose,” said Patterson. “That’s why we need to make sure our children - no matter their zip code – have an equal opportunity to gain the knowledge they need to be the next generation of innovators and leaders who grow our economy. However, our children won’t have that opportunity if they’re stuck in failing, for-profit charter schools that shift critical state resources away from public schools.” 


As the House prepares to draft changes to the state budget, it is unclear whether or not Republican leaders will keep the governor’s slow-growth economic philosophy intact as they have in the previous three state budgets. 

 
 
 
  
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House Dems Respond To GOP's Proposed Wage-killing Unemployment Restrictions

 

The Ohio House Democratic Caucus today responded to the newly unveiled GOP unemployment compensation bill that freezes unemployment compensation for ten years, increases unemployment insurance tax rates from .02 to .03 percent for employers, and adds a new ten-percent tax on employees.

“As Americans we believe in getting paid for the work you do. But now, after helping to build our bottom line in Ohio, working people will take home less pay for doing the same job under this legislation,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “That’s wrong.”

The legislation also reduces the amount of time a person remains eligible for unemployment insurance by two weeks, from 26 to 24.

“An automatic pay cut is not what most families and people have in mind when I talk to them about the priorities at their statehouse,” added Leader Strahorn. “People are concerned about owning a home, sending kids to school and trying to save what they can to get ahead.”



 
 

Lawmakers Push Solution To Stabilize 31 Fiscally Distressed Communities Hit Hard By Kasich's Budget Cuts

 

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Reps. Howse, Clyde Introduce The Ohio Equal Pay Act

 

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Cleveland-area Lawmakers Say Ohio Could "amp Up" Economic Growth Through Music Industry

 

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state. 

“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”

“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”