Wednesday, State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Ohio House Democratic Caucus members stood in opposition to the state’s two-year budget proposal, House Bill 64. Democratic legislators said the bill failed to lay out a real plan for the future of the state and instead advanced partisan attacks on working Ohioans and policies that rig the tax system to help the richest one-percent and special interests.
Democrats offered several alternative proposals* that would have put more money in the pockets of middle class Ohioans, stopped attacks on working Ohioans, ensured equal pay for women, reduced the state’s sales tax and maintained access to healthcare for pregnant working mothers and women needing cancer treatment. The Democratic proposals were shot down along party lines.
“I am very disappointed that the Ohio House has decided against working families by passing this budget,” said Rep. Sykes. “I'm especially disappointed that an amendment I offered that would reduce Ohio's abysmal infant mortality rate was tabled. People say, ‘Show me your budget and I'll show you your priorities.’ The Ohio House showed us that working families, pregnant women, babies and an educated work force are not our priorities."
House Republicans scrapped nearly all of Gov. Kasich’s initial budget proposal, but largely kept the philosophy behind an untargeted income tax cut intact. Democratic representatives expressed disappointment with the House GOP’s move stripping accountability and transparency measures for charter schools out of the state budget even as failing, for-profit charters are set to receive a record amount of taxpayer dollars through the bill. Democrats attempted to remove what they called the “No Charter Left Behind” provision which would give online charter schools $25 per pupil for brick and mortar facilities— something online schools lack.