State Rep. Ramos (D-Lorain) on Wednesday voted in opposition to part of the state’s mid-biennium review, House Bill 483. Democrats highlighted that, although the original intent of the MBR should have been to fix mistakes in last year’s state budget, the bill had turned into a thinly-veiled attempt by the GOP to abolish state protections against pay-to-play in state government.
State Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), a member of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee assigned the task of vetting the state’s mid-biennium review proposals, was deeply disappointed with actions of the majority party during Tuesday’s hearing. In recent years, the budget review process has traditionally been a time to fix mistakes of the previous budget. However, this year, it was not the case.
State Reps. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) introduced legislation—House Bill 502 –today to increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from the current rate of $7.95 per hour. Workers who rely on tips to supplement income would see their wages rise from $3.98 to $5.05 per hour under the proposal.
The Democratic lawmakers say the increase will create a stronger Ohio by putting more money into the pockets of minimum wage workers while providing struggling families with an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.
“CEO pay has been increasing 127 times faster than employee pay over the last 30 years, and that disparity ultimately hurts our economy,” said Rep. Foley. “Ohio families just can’t get by on such paltry wages anymore. They are increasingly forced to rely on public assistance because they struggle to make ends meet even working two and three jobs.”
It is estimated that the proposed increase in Ohio wages would inject an additional $2.1 billion into the state’s economy and create close to 6,000 new jobs.
“Low-wage workers are older and more educated today than thirty years ago, and our state’s policies have yet to reflect this reality,” said Rep. Hagan. “This is money that will go directly back into our economy, not in some offshore account or overseas investment. Instead of being pushed into public assistance lines, Ohioans who play by the rules deserve a shot at making it in an economy that rewards hard work.”
Reports show that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would have positive outcomes for Ohioans from all different backgrounds; of those who would be affected:
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 legi
While the rest of the country celebrates open and accountable government during Sunshine Week, the forecast for government transparency in Ohio looks much gloomier. In recent months, national groups have consistently ranked Ohio at the bottom of lists measuring both government accountability and the economic strength of our state. Yet, the annual report released last week by JobsOhio demonstrates this administration’s commitment to policies that continue to hurt regular Ohioans.
While Ohio’s economy falls further and further behind, no longer can middle-class Ohioans afford an agency that has failed to create jobs and remains unaccountable to the taxpayers who fund it. Instead, we need to get our economy moving again by investing in the middle class, prioritizing our local schools and communities and restoring accountability in state government.
A November 2013 Enquirer report demonstrated how the job-development incubator actually cost more and delivered less than their open and accountable predecessor, the Ohio Department of Development.
In 2008, when the Great Recession hit Ohio and the rest of the country, it was clear the road to recovery was going to be a long one. However, in 2014, while the national economic recovery continues to move forward, Ohio’s economic recovery has come to a grinding halt. As Ohio ranks 45th in the nation in job creation with nearly 400,000 Ohioans unemployed, clearly something in Columbus isn’t working for Ohioans.
I believe that Ohioans deserve economic policies that reflect their priorities and a government that is open and accountable about putting those policies into place. As I read this year’s JobsOhio report, it became obvious that the pro
On Wednesday, the Ohio House passed House Bill 178, sponsored by State Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany). The legislation, which now heads to the Ohio Senate, would increase the number of school safety drills from one to three, with an additional session for teachers and staff. The proposed changes allow for coordination with local law enforcement.