Columbus - 

COLUMBUS— Democratic state lawmakers today unveiled an ambitious economic agenda focused on laying a foundation for economic stability and paving a path to the middle class for the next generation of working people in the state

The leaders of both the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses said the eight bills that make up the legislative package – which includes legislation on paid family leave, equal pay for equal work, and raising the minimum wage – underscore the need to refocus state government's efforts away from chasing political headlines and instead toward policy solutions that create economic stability and pave a clear path to the middle class for the next generation of working people.

"Too many working families are struggling to make ends meet. We have the ability and responsibility to improve the lives of everyday Ohioans by passing legislation that provides economic stability for working people and paves a clear path to the middle class for the next generation of Ohioans," said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). "By valuing work, putting family first and reinvesting in our communities and infrastructure, we can help build a brighter future for the next generation of Ohioans."

Legislators pointed to paid family leave as an example of a forward-looking policy that will have a real positive impact on working families. Introduced as companion legislation by Rep. Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati) and Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard), the bills provide for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave through the creation of the Family and Medical Leave Program.

Other priorities on the Democratic economic agenda include college affordability, reinvesting in community infrastructure, and propelling Ohio's workers to the forefront of the country's advanced energy sector.

"I believe Ohio's economic future is tied to building opportunities for the middle class, not chasing political headlines or national campaigns," said Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni. "Too many Ohioans are just getting by and feel the economy is out of balance. We must work in a bipartisan way to make sure our children can prosper in a state that puts families first and lays the foundation for success well into the future."


Here is what other Democratic legislators are saying about the economic agenda:


"Too many working families are struggling to make ends meet. We have the ability and responsibility to improve the lives of everyday Ohioans by passing legislation that provides economic stability for working people and paves a clear path to the middle class for the next generation of Ohioans," said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). "By valuing work, putting family first and reinvesting in our communities and infrastructure, we can help build a brighter future for the next generation of Ohioans."

"The legislature must act on its obligation to the working people of this state by paving a clear path to economic stability and the middle class," said Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). "I believe we must focus firmly on the future and lay the groundwork today for the next generation of Ohioans, so that through hard work and perseverance our children and our children's children will have a fair shot at success and the American Dream."

"After returning to the House floor four short weeks after delivering my son, I developed a very personal understanding of the impact paid family leave can have on a family. Working Ohioans should not have to worry about losing their job or falling behind financially just to take care of a sick child or relative, address their own serious health condition, or welcome a newborn into their family," said Rep. Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati). "By allowing working people the freedom to support and grow their families, we can truly make Ohio a better place to live, work, and raise a family."

"Too many Ohio families are struggling to make ends meet, and in recent years, the deck has been increasingly stacked against them," said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). "We can level the playing field for all Ohioans by implementing fair taxes that strengthen the economy for the long term and lay a foundation for success for future generations."

"Recent state budgets have taken money out of the pockets of middle class families in order to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Ohioans, shifting the responsibility of paying for goods and services to those who can least afford it," said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). "We have the ability to value work in our state with fair tax policies that invest money back into the pockets of consumers when they purchase every-day living essentials."

"Ending pay discrimination for Ohio workers isn't just a women's issue, it's a family issue," said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). "As long as pay discrimination persists, we are cheating families out of their full earning power."

"Equal pay for equal work is a simple matter of fairness. Should our daughters earn less than our sons for doing the same job?" said Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati). "We have the power to make sure our economy reflects the value of work, fairness and equal opportunity for all citizens, regardless of gender."

"With nearly half of Ohio families reportedly being financially insecure, the money lost without equal pay makes it harder to save money for financial emergencies and pay monthly bills, let alone save for retirement or a child's college fund," said Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent). "That's bad for families and it's bad for our economy."

"In today's world, higher education is no longer a luxury for the well-off, but a necessity in order to thrive in a competitive global economy," said Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain). "Paving a clear path to the middle class and ensuring the next generation's opportunity for economic success means opening the doors of higher education to more Ohioans, and turning a young person's dream of going to college into a reality."

"Working people in Ohio should have the freedom to keep every penny they earn and get paid for the work they do. Unfortunately, some corporate CEOs cheat workers out of their earnings through loopholes and paperwork tricks," said Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany). "Treating middle class families fairly – so that they take home what they earn – strengthens our communities and builds the economy."

"Our state's infrastructure provides the foundation that creates good-paying jobs, generates revenue, grows the economy, keeps us competitive at both the national and global level, and enhances our quality of life," said Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake). "But Band-Aids won't fix our crumbling infrastructure – we have to invest now to be ready for our future. And if we do, more people will be back to work in good paying industries and be able to provide for their families."

"Working Ohioans should not have to worry about losing their job or falling behind financially to care for their newborn, sick loved one, or address their own serious health conditions. Paid sick leave is good for Ohio families and our state's economy," said Sen. Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard). "My bill proposes a voluntary insurance program paid for by employees, causing no undue burden to employers and allowing families to have the flexibility they need. As a former caretaker for my late grandfather who had Alzheimer's, I understand that not everyone has the luxury to stay home without pay, which is why we need to take care of those who cannot."

"The prescription for economic health on the Republican side is like the doctor who would only prescribe penicillin for every conceivable illness," said Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid). "I would say that we need to take a different approach. We need to grow the economy from the middle out, because the top down has been tried over and over and over again for 35 years and what we've seen is that inequality in wealth has grown drastically and the only folks that have benefited have been at the top of the income spectrum."

"For the sake of public health, to protect our children and to ensure that Ohio businesses and workers can compete and succeed in the global economy, we must begin fixing our state's crumbling infrastructure today. We just learned that lead is poisoning the water in Sebring and we all know that is just the tip of a very dangerous iceberg," said Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown). "The EPA estimates that we must invest $15.5 billion in our wastewater treatment facilities and another $12.2 billion to ensure that our drinking water is safe. HJR 5 will provide the funds we need to make these critical improvements – improvements that will keep us safe, create tens of thousands of jobs and drive economic development in Ohio for decades to come. Now is the time to protect our kids and strengthen our economy. Too much is at stake. We simply can't afford to wait."

The full economic package includes the following priorities:

-Raise The Bar For Wages

-Putting Family First

-Reducing The Cost Of Everyday Essentials

-Equal Pay For Equal Work

-Turning The College Dream Into A Reality

-Paycheck Freedom

-Powering Our Future With Advanced Technologies

-Better Roads For Brighter Futures

 
 
 
  
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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.”