Galonski: Real State of the State shows Ohio losing ground to too many other states
Ohio House Democratic lawmakers this evening responded to Gov. Kasich’s annual State of the State address in Westerville, Ohio. Though the governor touted a comeback for the Buckeye State, House Democrats noted that Ohioans disproportionately face lower quality-of-life standards than the rest of the nation.
“Since 2011, Ohio has fallen backward in too many standards of living,” said state Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron). “Ohio is leading, but unfortunately it is leading in all the wrong ways. Our state was once a place where people came to start a new life, because they knew they could find good jobs and many other opportunities to better themselves and their families. In order for Ohio to begin leading in the right ways, changes must be made to attract future generations.”
After the last 7 years of total Republican control of state government, Ohio has dropped from 5th to 22nd in education, and ranks first in student debt and near last in college affordability. Though the state has seen an uptick in high school graduation rates in recent years, rates for minority students remain among the worst in the country.
Despite funding increases in the state budget to fight the state’s ongoing opioid crisis, deaths from opioid-related overdoses rose by 39 percent last year, nearly triple the national average. Ongoing issues with infant mortality and access to health care for women, infants and children, among other factors, rank the Buckeye State 39th in the nation in overall health.
Ohio’s job growth has trailed the national average for five straight years, and in 2017 ranked 33rd overall in job growth. In the past decade, middle class Ohioans have seen the sixth worst decline in wages as share of total income among U.S. states. In addition, Ohio incomes have dropped more than six percent in recent decades, which ranks worse than all but three other states.