Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty initiative. The day serves as a stark reminder that there’s still plenty of fighting to do, especially in Ohio.
1 in 6 Ohioans lives in poverty. That makes us the 7th most impoverished state in the nation. All too often, Ohioans are struggling to find jobs that pay a living wage and to put food on the table.
In October, that struggle became even more challenging when Governor Kasich decided to cut off access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for an estimated 134,000 low-income Ohioans. Even though all 88 Ohio counties are eligible for a federal SNAP work waiver, the governor haphazardly extended the waiver to only 16 counties.
Hunger knows no county line. At least 49 counties have higher poverty rates than the national average, 427,000 unemployed Ohioans are already searching for jobs, and Ohio trails the national job growth rate. With over 16 percent of Ohioans living in poverty, now is not the time to give up the fight.
Under Ohio’s trickle-down economic policies, the War on Poverty has lost steam in our state. Ohioans deserve better. The War on Poverty is a fight for economic opportunity and social equality-one that Ohioans cannot afford to lose.