State Rep. Smith: State Budget A Missed Opportunity To Grow Economy
Says policies should build opportunity for middle-class Ohioans, not attack working Ohioans
April 23, 2015
 
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On Wednesday, State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Ohio House Democratic Caucus members stood in opposition to the state’s two-year, $131.6 billion budget proposal, House Bill 64. Democratic members said a bill of that magnitude should have been a strategic and targeted blueprint to grow the state’s economy for the future, but instead became a vehicle for tax cuts that favor the richest one-percent and last-minute attacks on working Ohioans.


Democrats offered several alternative proposals that would have put more money in the pockets of middle class Ohioans, stopped attacks on working Ohioans, ensured equal pay for women, reduced the state’s sales tax and maintained access to healthcare for pregnant working mothers and women needing cancer treatment. The Democratic policies were shot down along party lines.


“This budget is an improvement over what was proposed by the Governor because it stopped tax shift policies that would have hurt Ohio families,” said Rep. Smith. “I also support the Medicaid expansion inclusion within the budget. While these two points are clear victories for the Ohio House Democrats, I voted ‘no’ because this budget contains more bad than good. This Republican budget re-attacked working families with its SB 5 language, it did not help solve Ohio’s despicable infant mortality problem, it increased funding to Ohio’s failing charter school industry with no meaningful accountability and it again short changed local governments, like East Cleveland, so Ohio’s most wealthy could get another tax cut. I hope the Ohio Senate corrects these major flaws.”


House Republicans scrapped nearly all of Gov. Kasich’s initial budget proposal, but largely kept the philosophy behind an untargeted income tax cut intact. Democratic representatives expressed disappointment with the House GOP’s move stripping accountability and transparency measures for charter schools out of the state budget even as failing, for-profit charters are set to receive a record amount of taxpayer dollars through the bill. Democrats attempted to remove what they called the “No Charter Left Behind” provision which would give online charter schools $25 per pupil for brick and mortar facilities— something online schools lack.   

 
 
 
  
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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.”