Before state lawmakers head into conference committee to hammer out the final details of the state biennial budget, House Democratic leaders today questioned whether the legislation adequately addresses the state’s current fiscal crisis that has left Ohio families struggling to make ends meet and communities underwater.

“The Ohio GOP’s misguided tax policy has not created the economic stability, better-paying jobs or real growth that was promised. While the rest of the nation is recovering from the Great Recession, Ohio has been held back,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “After six years of being wrong – wrong about a tax policy that favors the wealthy over the middle class, wrong about state revenue numbers for 10 out of 11 months, wrong even about how much needs to be cut to balance the budget – I have no doubt that the same failed approach based on ideology instead of facts will only do more harm to working Ohio families and send our economy deeper into a tailspin.”

Ohio’s job growth has trailed the national average for 54 consecutive months, Ohio families bring home thousands of dollars less than the average household in America, and close to 30 percent of Ohio jobs are low wage, paying less than poverty wages.

“The budget isn’t real until it’s a fact-based plan that sets priorities and delivers results. This budget is just more of the same that has been holding Ohio back,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). “The fact is: when we hit bottom, you don’t keep digging. Passing a fake budget built on empty promises will only push Ohio into a recession.”

The current version of the state budget bill, House Bill 49, restricts access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Ohioans, takes more money away from local communities and maintains a tax loophole for lobbyists and lawyers that leaves the state with $1 billion less to address serious challenges like the statewide opioid epidemic. 

“The question we have to ask is how bad does it have to get before we change course? The statewide opioid crisis is claiming so many lives every day that we literally don’t have a place to put all the bodies,” said Minority Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Republicans sticking their heads in the sand and denying there’s a fundamental problem won’t turn our economy around or create new, better-paying jobs. We will be back here in the fall when the state and taxpayers are faced with even bigger problems.”

Conference committee is expected to meet Monday before the final report on the budget is considered by the full legislature early next week. The Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Kasich must approve a balanced budget by June 30 to avoid government shutdown.  

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Ohio House Dems Stand With Ohio Workers, Speak Out Against GOP Anti-worker Bills


Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and Democratic House members from across the state today issued statements in support of the Working People’s Day of Action planned for Saturday, February 24 at the Ohio Statehouse. The Ohio march comes on the heels of the introduction of six Republican-sponsored constitutional amendments to implement so-called “right to work” legislation and other workplace restrictions in the Buckeye State. 


Bipartisan Redistricting Reform Clears Last Legislative Hurdle Before Voters Have Final Say In May


Following months of negotiation, the Ohio House today passed Senate Joint Resolution 5, bipartisan legislation that puts a constitutional amendment before voters in May to restrict congressional gerrymandering in the state. 

“After months of negotiation, thousands of Ohioans speaking out, and several false starts, we’re closer to stopping congressional gerrymandering today than we have ever been before. Though imperfect, this latest plan represents one of the most fundamental tenets of our American democracy – compromise,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “We support this plan today, with the hope and expectation that it will help impart that same spirit and guiding principle of cooperation on Washington in the near future.”

Democratic House expressed concerns over several parts of the proposed plan that they see as loopholes that, in extreme cases, could still allow partisan congressional district rigging. Ultimately, most Democrats still supported the final language in the resolution.


Democratic Legislative Leaders Continue Push For Bipartisan Redistricting Reform


In Democrats’ continued push for real bipartisan congressional redistricting reform, Senate Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko (D- Richmond Heights) and House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) today released the following joint statement calling for continued negotiations:

“Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly are committed to ending gerrymandering once and for all. That’s why we agreed to join the redistricting working group in the first place, because bipartisanship should be the foundation of the redistricting process.

“Democrats are committed to requiring strong bipartisanship and stopping communities from being split apart to favor one party over another.

“Unfortunately, the Republican plan would only change the way a majority party could manipulate districts in the future. In fact, the GOP proposals would continue the problem of unfair congressional districts by writing gerrymandering into our state constitution.

“We want the citizens of Ohio to know that Democrats in the legislature remain dedicated to achieving meaningful reform. There is still time to negotiate and reach an agreement.”


House Democrats Reflect On Dr. King's Legacy, Dream Of Equality For All


In recent years, we have seen divisions emerge in our public debate. Partisan rancor spills from the halls of government to our homes, our classrooms and on our social media. We see demonstrations of hate in small towns and big cities and read profiles of self-proclaimed white nationalists in our newspapers. While this division reveals the many imperfections of America, like Dr. King, I do not believe it defines us.