News Release: IO On The State Budget: A Job Killer That Rewards The Rich And Hikes Local Taxes

For Immediate Release:  June 30, 2011

Contact:  Dale Butland, 614-783-5833

IO ON THE STATE BUDGET:

A JOB KILLER THAT REWARDS THE RICH AND HIKES LOCAL TAXES

Columbus-Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, today blasted Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly for a two-year budget that “kills jobs, rewards the wealthiest Ohioans, and makes local tax increases all but inevitable.  And by cynically refusing to accept even a modest cut in their own pay, legislators have hypocritically exempted themselves from the shared sacrifice they’re asking of everyone else.”

To illustrate its claims, IO pointed to the following:

  • By cutting school funding by nearly $3 billion and local government funding by 50%, as many as 51,000 existing public sector jobs could be destroyed, hobbling Ohio’s fragile economic recovery and potentially pushing the state into a “double dip” recession.  Click here to see IO’s previously released budget job loss study.
  • School cuts —and especially cuts to local government funds, which are used to pay for police, fire, trash pick-up and emergency response —will require communities either to hike taxes or make do with fewer educational and protective services.
  • While slashing services for the middle class, the budget lavishes millions of dollars in new benefits on the wealthiest Ohioans, including
    • elimination of the estate tax (which applied only to the wealthiest 7%);
    • the new “Invest Ohio” program (which, though created without a single  legislative hearing or any evidence of job creation, could potentially  result in 100 wealthy investors receiving $1 million each in income tax breaks);
    • a new $17 per student “bonus” payment to Ohio’s wealthiest school districts; and allowing millionaire, “for profit” charter school operators (and major Republican  campaign donors) like David Brennan to open new charters without independent sponsors. Oversight will now supposedly come from the State Department of Education, which lacks the resources to do it effectively.

Said IO Communications Director Dale Butland:

“On every level, this budget is a complete disgrace. By slashing education, it guts Ohio’s long-term competitiveness and mortgages our future.  By decimating local government funding, it shirks the state’s responsibility to help fund police, fire and other basic services -and fobs it off on local taxpayers.  By refusing to close tax loopholes worth $7 billion and instead stuffing the pockets of the rich with new and even more lucrative tax breaks, it mocks the idea of shared sacrifice. And by demanding wage and benefit cuts for every public worker but themselves, legislators have become me-first profiles in hypocrisy. I hope House Speaker Batchelder and his colleagues will explain why they should be paid more for their part-time jobs than many police and firefighters earn for the full-time jobs they are now in danger of losing.   Shame on the General Assembly.  Shame on Governor Kasich.   The budget they’ve passed is a travesty. Ohio and Ohioans deserve better.”

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