House Democrats today announced Ohio’s back-to-school sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 3-5, as a result of the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 226. The annual event helps lessen the sting of the 4.5 percent statewide sales tax hike passed by Republican lawmakers in the 2013 state budget. The hike has cost taxpayers almost $2 billion more since then, according to state revenue numbers.
State Rep. Michael Ashford (D-Toledo), a joint sponsor of House Bill 123, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Kasich’s signing of the bill to crack down on predatory short-term lenders in Ohio:
As summer heats up and families flock to fairs and festivals, including the Ohio State Fair which opened this week, beefed up safety standards for amusement rides sit dormant in the Ohio House.
After last year’s Fireball amusement ride failure at the Ohio State Fair tragically claimed the life of Tyler Jarrell and sent seven others to the hospital with serious injuries, state Rep. John Patterson’s (D-Jefferson) attention turned to ensuring such a tragedy never takes place in Ohio again.
House Democrats today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 123, a bipartisan effort to enact consumer protections for the thousands of Ohioans who utilize short-term loans every day. Borrowers in Ohio currently pay some of the highest rates in the nation for payday loans, with estimated average interest rates at over 500 percent.
Three years after it was exposed that Gov. John Kasich’s handpicked charter-czar David Hansen, husband of Kasich’s chief of staff, was illegally changing charter school grades to allow failing charter schools to draw down on more taxpayer funding, little has happened at the Republican-controlled Statehouse to crack down, once and for all, on Ohio’s largely unregulated charter school industry.
“Three years after Governor Kasich’s handpicked charter school head was caught defrauding taxpayers, an historic amount of tax dollars continue to flow to Ohio charter schools,” said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), the lead Democrat on the House Education Committee. “Instead of wholesale changes to hold Ohio charters accountable to the same standards and rules as traditional schools, the legislature has, in effect, loosened standards.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today denounced the School Employees Retirement System (SERS) of Ohio’s decision to raise salaries of its employees, including highly paid executives, by 3 percent while a three-year freeze on cost of living adjustments (COLA) for retirees is in place.
As workers and retirees from across the nation gathered on the Ohio Statehouse lawn today to speak out for pension protections for hundreds of thousands of retired American workers, Ohio House Democratic lawmakers spoke out in support of American retirees and urged the Ohio legislature to take up legislation, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 8, that would urge members of congress to protect coal miner pensions.
By his own admission, Republican Auditor of State Dave Yost is now indicating he gave the now-defunct online charter school ECOT taxpayer funded awards for outstanding financial records while the same records show ECOT was writing taxpayer-funded checks to students to take standardized state tests and attend commencement ceremonies.
“If Auditor Dave Yost was doing his job and really looking at ECOT’s financial records during the last seven years, why would he let ECOT use taxpayer dollars to pay students to take tests and attend graduation,” state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) questioned. “The crooked irony is that Auditor Yost was taking thousands in campaign donations from ECOT and giving them clean audit awards while they were paying off students with your tax dollars.”
After cutting almost $1 billion from local schools and $2 billion from communities throughout the state, Ohio Republicans announced today additional funding for the state’s budget reserve fund. House Finance Committee member and state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) issued the following statement in response:
“It is time for Ohio Republicans to be honest about their political game-playing with Ohio’s state budget reserves. Though the previous administration made tough decisions to put Ohio in a stronger place during the global financial recession of 2009, Republicans today continue to fill the fund with money that has been cut from local communities and schools throughout the state. That’s not governing or making tough decisions, it’s passing the buck to local taxpayers with new and increased levies to make up for the failure of leadership at the state level.”
State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today announced he sent a letter to Richard Stensrud, executive director of the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio, asking him to rethink the recent decision to cut cost-of-living pay to SERS Pension holders while giving SERS administrators a three-percent pay increase.