State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) and Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today stood in opposition to House Bill 64, the state’s two-year budget bill. Democratic legislators voted against the measure, which they say lacks a comprehensive vision and offers little for hardworking Ohioans to get ahead. Instead, Democrats argue the bill advances policies that rig the tax system to help the richest one-percent and special interests, such as charter schools, big utility companies and oil and gas companies, in addition to partisan attacks on working Ohioans.
House Democrats expressed disappointment in the latest iteration of an untargeted tax package that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest few Ohioans. Despite a number tax cuts since 2005, Ohio remains one of the last states yet to recover jobs lost during the Great Recession.
Without and accountability or transparency measures, an historic amount of tax dollars, to the tune of $1 billion, will flow to the state’s charter schools, many of which continue to underperform compared to their chronically underfunded public school counterparts. Online charter schools also receive an extra $25 per student for building costs, even though online schools lack brick and mortar facilities.
“This budget was an opportunity to create jobs that lift our struggling workers out of poverty, strengthen middle class families, and create a more prosperous state. We could have used this budget to make college more affordable to help Ohioans find better, higher-paying jobs, provide ample public transportation to get people to work and school, help our homeless to get back on their feet, and fully fund our schools so that the next generation can have a more prosperous future than our own,” Ramos said. “Instead of working to grow the economy by strengthening the middle class, this General Assembly chose to cut taxes in a non-targeted manner that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. I voted no because Ohio needs a budget that works for all Ohioans, not just the fortunate few.”
Republican lawmakers also added a provision stripping collective bargaining rights from home healthcare workers in addition to other anti-worker restrictions, which privatize a number of good-paying public sector jobs and restrict workers ability to negotiate for better workplace conditions.
Throughout the budget process, Democrats offered amendments to remove partisan attacks and shift legislative priorities toward growing the economy though community and education investments and targeted tax reductions for the majority of Ohioans—something Democratic representatives say strengthen middle class families and attract businesses. Time after time, Republican leaders dismissed Democratic amendments.
With the bill’s passage, it now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature before July 1.