Amid a more than $1 billion financial shortfall, Ohio’s legislative Republicans pushed state budget negotiations closer to the brink Tuesday and today with eleventh hour horse-trading over a Medicaid lockout and complex money maneuvers, leaving Gov. John Kasich less than 48 hours to review the state budget, House Bill 49, before the start of the new fiscal year.
“While the rest of America is recovering from the global recession, six years of Republican mismanagement have held us back from solving real problems like attracting better-paying jobs, reducing healthcare costs, and strengthening our children’s schools,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Our economy continues to underperform and people at home are feeling it. The state is on a downward spiral to recession.”
Before state lawmakers head into conference committee to hammer out the final details of the state biennial budget, House Democratic leaders today questioned whether the legislation adequately addresses the state’s current fiscal crisis that has left Ohio families struggling to make ends meet and communities underwater.
“The Ohio GOP’s misguided tax policy has not created the economic stability, better-paying jobs or real growth that was promised. While the rest of the nation is recovering from the Great Recession, Ohio has been held back,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “After six years of being wrong – wrong about a tax policy that favors the wealthy over the middle class, wrong about state revenue numbers for 10 out of 11 months, wrong even about how much needs to be cut to balance the budget – I have no doubt that the same failed approach based on ideology instead of facts will only do more harm to working Ohio families and send our economy deeper into a tailspin.”
State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) will offer testimony during Education and Career Readiness Committee TODAY, Tuesday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the Statehouse on House Bill (HB) 220, legislation to shine a light on how charter schools spend taxpayer dollars. The Columbus lawmaker’s testimony follows the Columbus Dispatch’s recent editorial reporting of nearly $200 million tax dollars that ECOT, the state’s largest online charter school, spent on management fees to companies owned by its founder.
“Just as Ohio parents want to know that their children are receiving the highest quality possible education in school, Ohio taxpayers deserve to know how their hard-earned dollars are being used,” said Leland. “Our Constitutional mandate to create a “thorough” and “efficient” public school system demands nothing less.”
WHO: State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus)
WHAT: Education and Career Readiness Committee
Sponsor testimony for HB 220
WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Ohio Statehouse, Room 121
As Statehouse Republicans struggle to cut $800 million to balance Ohio’s next two-year budget, preliminary revenue estimates for this May show the state faces greater fiscal uncertainty than initially anticipated. Lawmakers will now have to contend with an additional $67 million less in spending for the current fiscal year. House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and the lead Democrat on the House’s state budget panel, Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), issued the following joint statement in response:
“The TV weatherman is right more than Ohio Republicans have been about Ohio’s financial future. Meanwhile, with every month that passes, taxpayers have a front row seat to see how years of deep cuts to schools and communities, tax shifting and tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires are pushing our economy further out of balance and charting a collision course of uncertainty and failure.”
Often in our day-to-day lives, we may forget the sacrifices made by our greatest public servants – the brave and selfless men and women in the Armed Services.
We owe them a tremendous debt. The freedoms we enjoy are not free, and the price tag is often grim. We know that we can never repay that debt. We can only acknowledge it, and say, “thank you.”
The celebration of Memorial Day reminds us of this debt we owe to our veterans and current military members, whose selflessness, sacrifice and courage helps keep our nation safe.
State Rep. and Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), State Rep. and Vice Chair Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and members of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus today gathered with about 200 women representing nearly 30 counties from across the state to discuss and lobby for policy solutions to challenges Ohio women and families face.
“Women’s active participation in the political process is vital to ensure equal representation, especially after men dominated the polls up and down the ballot during the last election,” said OHDWC Chair Teresa Fedor. “When women in Ohio don’t have the same level of access to opportunity and prosperity, our entire state pays the price. By empowering women to engage with their elected officials and advocate for policies that advance gender equality in our state, we can help boost the quality of life for all Ohio families.”
State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today issued the following statement in response to a state ruling against ECOT, the state’s biggest, failing online charter school, for what amounts to embezzling some $60 million in taxpayer dollars by falsely inflating student attendance:
“ECOT and other charter schools have been fleecing taxpayers for years while GOP lawmakers turned a blind eye speaking at graduation ceremonies and building their campaign coffers on the broken promises to families, taxpayers – and most importantly – our children.
“With sixty-million dollars essentially being stolen from taxpayers, today’s ruling draws into question the massive amounts of cash GOP lawmakers have accepted from ECOT over the years. I am calling on GOP lawmakers to tally up and return all ECOT campaign donations in a check written to the state from their campaign.
“If we refuse to fully hold Ohio’s failed charter school experiment accountable through tougher laws and standards, lawmakers should at minimum hold themselves accountable for being complicit in the theft of tax dollars from our taxpayers. That starts with doing the right thing, and returning campaign donations to the state.”
Accompanied by family at the Ohio Statehouse today, Tavia Galonski, a previous Summit County Juvenile Court magistrate, was sworn in by retired federal bankruptcy court Judge Randolph Baxter, her uncle. The House Democratic Caucus voted on seating Galonski today during House session after a House panel recommended Galonski following eight applicant interviews for the 35th House district seat.
“We are excited to welcome Tavia into the caucus, and eager to work with her on some of the greatest challenges facing our state,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “From the creation of new, better-paying jobs to fully funding our schools and protecting our children, Tavia and the caucus share priorities that will benefit from her expertise and work.”
Galonski, a magistrate in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, has served the state in a legal capacity for over 15 years. Formerly appointed as magistrate of the county’s domestic relations court, she most recently served as magistrate of the county’s juvenile court.
“It is a privilege to represent the people of Summit County at their Statehouse in Columbus,” said Galonski. “I am eager to get to work on bills and ideas that increase our quality of life in the thirty-fifth and ensure state resources come back home.”
In addition to her extensive background in public service, policy and legal issues, Galonski is also a member of Leadership Akron, The University of Akron School of Law Alumni Association, the Barristers and the Ohio State Bar Association. She was appointed to serve as the juvenile court representative for the Summit County Fatherhood Initiative, which earned her the 2014 Ohio Fatherhood Center Achievement Award.
Galonski received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta. After attending the University of Nottingham in the U.K., she completed her Juris
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) gave sponsor testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday on a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state.
“While other states, like Georgia which just signed their program into law on May 8, are also pushing for recording studio incentives, I believe Ohio should get ahead of the curve in attracting new music recording projects as well as growing our existing studios and musical talent,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds builds upon our proud music history and works to cultivate our state’s musical legacy moving forward.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) testified today on House Bill 93, the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public (TRUMP) Act in its first hearing in the Ohio House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee. The TRUMP Act would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their five most recent years of tax returns to qualify for the Ohio ballot.
“I am encouraged that the TRUMP Act is moving forward,” said Rep. Clyde. “I urge the committee to continue to hold hearings on this important legislation so that the American people know those vying for our highest offices are honest, accountable and acting in the best interest of our nation.”
Rep. Clyde’s full testimony is below: