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Today, the Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives overrode eleven items Governor John Kasich vetoed in the recently passed state budget, House Bill (HB) 49. Under the House’s overrides, Medicaid expansion will have to be reauthorized through the state Controlling Board and new taxes on working people could be put in place as a condition of healthcare coverage – if the Senate takes up the House overrides.

“After six years and almost two-billion dollars in Republican cuts to local communities, it’s our responsibility to take an all-of-the-above strategy to rebuild and restore our economic engines – our local communities,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “While Ohio’s economy teeters on the verge of recession, we need to put our communities and local taxpayers in the best position possible to plan for their future and invest in job creation and community development.”

 
 

On July 4th 1776, our founders signed a declaration founded in ideals of freedom, fairness and equality. These ideals formed the fabric of our society, together weaving the greatest American ideal: the “American Dream”.

In 2017, the promise of the “American Dream” feels out of reach for many people who are working harder than ever just to get by. As corporations and politicians have shipped good-paying middle-class jobs overseas, owning a home, a reliable car and starting a family has become a pipe dream, especially to our young Americans.

 
 
Ohio House Dems urge Kasich to veto Medicaid Expansion freeze

Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Governor Kasich urging him to line-item veto the Medicaid expansion freeze in the state operating budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that will end healthcare coverage for over half-a-million people.

“The people of Ohio deserve representatives in Columbus who will stand up and fight for them,” said state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Passing the Medicaid expansion freeze and kicking people off of Medicaid is unacceptable, harmful, and cruel and unusual punishment.”

If approved by the federal government, the GOP freeze to Ohio’s Medicaid expansion will phase out medical coverage for over half-a-million Ohioans, leaving families with minimal healthcare options. 

“We need to provide healthcare for Ohio’s families, all of Ohio’s families.” Sykes said. “Without access to healthcare, lives will be lost and costs will rise. Ohio cannot afford to pay for the increased costs that will come by taking away people’s healthcare.”

*Editor’s note: A copy of the letter sent to Gov. Kasich is pasted below. 

 
 
HB 27 will cut worker benefits, destabilize Ohio families
June 28, 2017

The Ohio House voted today on the Republican-led charge to restrict worker’s access to healthcare and benefits through the state’s $581 million Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget bill, House Bill 27.

GOP lawmakers undertook a significant rewrite of what is typically a noncontroversial budget bill to include benefit restrictions on firefighters with cancer. The $581 million measure also cuts in half the amount of time all workers currently have to file a claim, something Democrats say could economically destabilizes thousands of Ohio families.

“The brave men and women who run into burning buildings while everyone else runs away deserve better than new barriers to care when they are seriously injured or get sick on the job,” said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Retreating from firefighters who contract cancer from their dangerous line of work and closing the door early on workers seeking treatment for workplace injuries seriously undermines the economic stability of working families across the state.”  

 
 

COLUMBUS— 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.

 

“This budget not only threatens the economic well-being of working families, but attacks the health of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Ohioans,” said Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati). “At a time when Ohio leads the nation in opioid deaths, too many babies are dying before their first birthday in our state, and many families have love ones fighting some type of cancer or other serious health condition, blocking access to Medicaid for those who need it most literally puts the lives of Ohioans on the line.”

 
 
State's fake budget built on broken economic outlook, six years of few results and empty job promises

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.” 

 
 
House Dems highlight state's grim financial reality, dismal economic outlook ahead of final budget negotiations

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.” 

 
 
Leland to push for tax dollar accountability in charter school funding

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

 

 

 
 
Ohio loses $67 million in planned revenue for May 2017
June 6, 2017

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.