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It's Common Sense to Let the Sun Shine on Taxpayer-funded benefits

GOP should embrace disclosure of tax dollars spent to prop-up employee benefits, by State Rep. Robert F. Hagan
March 21, 2014
Democratic Newsroom

Press Release Poster

As Ohio marks Sunshine week, GOP inaction in the state legislature means that Ohioans remain in the dark on how some of the state’s largest corporations are propping up employee benefits at taxpayers’ expense.

According to a state-issued June 2009 report, some of the largest and most profitable corporations in Ohio were also among the top ten biggest users of taxpayer-funded public assistance. For example, as Ohio’s largest private employer, Walmart has roughly 50,000 employees. Of those, between ten and fifteen thousand workers must rely on Medicaid for their healthcare. While just one example, the numbers from the top offenders are tragically routine.

Each month, some of the most profitable companies in Ohio leave it to the taxpayer to fill in the gaps left by their corporate neglect, with tens of thousands of their workers relying on Medicaid, food stamps and even cash assistance to make ends meet.

For too many years, my calls for transparency in spending taxpayer dollars have been ignored by Republicans who control state government. It seems they remain completely disinterested in helping illuminate how taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize the health benefits of hard working Ohioans that are neglected by their employers. But, I will not stop—the public has a right to know.

This year, I again introduced legislation to shine a light on how we allocate taxpayer dollars to subsidize health benefits for employees of some of the largest corporations in Ohio.

Under House Bill 356, the director of Job and Family Services would be required to report the employers with the largest employee use of state public assistance, and provide that information to General Assembly, Director of JobsOhio, Director of Budget and Management and the Tax Credit Authority on an annual basis.

Having this information available will allow the legislature and relevant state agencies to make more complete judgments on the merits of offering taxpayer funded subsidies to certain companies. It’s not rocket science—it’s commonsense and good government.

Legislative Republicans are keeping the complete picture of subsidized health benefits shrouded in the dark.  

-State Rep. Robert F. Hagan