Before new state economic indicators come out Thursday, the Ohio House today passed a version of the state’s two-year budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that remains hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance, if not more. The vote comes a little more than two weeks after Gov. Kasich and GOP legislative leaders announced they would need to cut close to $1 billion from the bill to maintain a stable, balanced budget. Still, the final version of House Bill 49 approved largely along party lines today fell over $400 million short of being a balanced budget bill by that standard.
Democratic members argued that passing an unbalanced budget not only violated their constitutional oath, but was fiscally irresponsible and would jeopardize Ohio’s already weak economy.
“The budget passed today reflects years of fiscal mismanagement under GOP leadership and falls short of the investments needed to turn our economy around,” said State Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati). “This budget is more of the same burden-shifting to the middle class and local communities. This budget does not provide for long-term solutions in education, healthcare and the workforce that will drive our economy and quality of living forward.
As the Ohio House of Representatives enters the next stage in state budget deliberations, House Democratic leaders today warned that GOP economic policies are blowing a hole in the Ohio budget and threatening the economic stability of working families.
“The GOP strategy of pushing costs down to local communities and families has created a dangerous cycle of lower economic power for the middle class which in turn leads to further revenue shortfalls,” said Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati). “The way to end the pattern and increase the economic vitality of our state is by making it easier- not more difficult- for hardworking Ohioans to pay for essentials such as clothing and medical necessities. As an alternative to more tax cuts for the wealthiest in the state, I have introduced pieces of legislation to create a sales tax holiday for back to school items and to end the discriminatory sales tax on menstruation products. The budget should be looking at creative, innovative solutions to present a long-term investment in all Ohioans, not more of the same failed policies.”
State Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today issued the following statement responding to the governor’s assertion that legislation to require the state’s chief executive to complete an annual 40-hour externship in a public elementary or secondary school is motivated by “partisan politics”:
“We believe what is “more than disappointing” is the fact that under Governor Kasich’s leadership, Ohio has slashed critical funding for local communities and schools; has supported a for-profit charter school industry is failing to educate our children; and even allowed data-scrubbing to cover up charter school shortcomings to occur under this watch.
State Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced new legislation – The “GET REALS Act” – to require the governor to complete an annual 40-hour externship in a public elementary or secondary school ranked A-F.
The Governor’s Externship for Training of Realistic Expectations of Academic Leadership in Schools (GET REALS) comes as Gov. Kasich seeks a law change in his state operating budget to require teachers to shadow businesspeople as a condition of maintaining their professional education licensure.
“No one understands the challenges and opportunities our children experience in the classroom better than educators, and this bill would extend that same necessary insight to the governor and his policy proposals,” said Kelly.
State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today announced the introduction of House Bill 89, bipartisan legislation to establish a three-day sales tax “holiday” during the first weekend of August for “back-to-school” clothing and school supplies. If enacted, HB 89 would establish the sales tax holiday for the third consecutive year.
“The sales tax holiday is a great opportunity to help Ohio families as they prepare for the new school year, and for members of our communities to support local workers and local businesses,” said Kelly. “By saving families money, we can encourage Ohioans to spend their hard-earned dollars in their own backyard instead of crossing over the border into a neighboring state.”
In the midst of state operating budget discussions, State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today announced they are introducing bipartisan legislation, House Bill 61, to eliminate the $4 million yearly sales tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads. The lawmakers and a recent lawsuit contend the sales tax on essential women’s healthcare items, also known as the “Pink Tax,” disproportionately affects women who already face economic hurdles given Ohio’s gender-based wage gap.
“The “Pink Tax” holds Ohio families and women back from their full earning potential by unfairly targeting essential products needed by over half the state’s population,” said Kelly. “Continuing to nickel-and-dime women adds up, especially for minimum wage workers who will lose an even greater proportion of weekly earnings to this unfair state tax. This unfair tax ultimately means women have less money to save for their future and things like car repairs, medical costs and childcare.”
House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) today announced state Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) will serve as the top Democratic member of the Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Agriculture, Development and Natural Resources for the new legislative session.
In her leadership role, Kelly will help parse through several billions of dollars in proposed state budget expenditures for multiple state agencies, which in the past included departments that manage water safety, consumer protections, economic development programs, and fracking regulations and safety.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides the aisle to create stronger communities and more opportunity for families in our district and across the state,” said Kelly.