March 6, 2015

IO Analysis: The School Funding Squeeze (updated)

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Today, IO education policy fellow Stephen Dyer will be testifying before the House Finance Subcommittee to discuss Innovation Ohio’s latest analysis: The school funding squeeze.

In this analysis we examine how over ten years of income tax cuts and funding increases for charter schools have squeezed valuable public education dollars in Ohio. Here are just a few of the key points:

1. Over the last ten years, Ohio has been investing up to $3 billion annually in tax cuts for the rich instead of high-quality schools for our students.

2. Since 2011, state aid has dropped below 50 percent with local revenue now paying for the majority share of the public education funding mix.

3. When factoring in lost revenue to charter schools, education spending as a share of the budget drops to a historic low of 23 percent.

4. In the 2016-17 budget proposal, the percentage of local school districts that face funding cuts jumps from 51 to 67 percent when subtracting the revenue that goes to charter schools.

5. In too many cases, state funding to charter schools reduces the amount of the total per-pupil funding available to students in local public schools, even with their local revenue.

Read the full analysis: IO Analysis – The School Funding Squeeze 3-5-15

Hearings to Start on Proposed Ohio 6-Week Abortion Ban

Ohio lawmakers are about to consider a bill to outlaw abortions at the first sign of a detectable heartbeat — as early as six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Tomorrow afternoon, House members will hear from sponsors of House Bill 69 in the brand new Community and Family Advancement committee.

It’s worth noting that the bill was not assigned to the chamber’s Health and Aging committee, led by Chairwoman Anne Gonzales and the committee where most abortion-related bills are heard. GOP leaders instead assigned HB69, which regulates medical procedures, to the newly-formed committee the Speaker had said would focus on access to employment and educational opportunities.

Was the GOP’s male committee chairman simply more willing to take on controversial legislation restricting women’s healthcare options than Gonzales? We can’t help but wonder.


Rep Tim Derickson presides over the committee that will hear HB69

Only North Dakota has enacted a ban this early in pregnancy, and it was quickly overturned by a federal judge. Arkansas passed a law banning abortions six weeks after a detectable heartbeat – around 12 weeks of pregnancy – and it, too, was ruled unconstitutional by a judge. Both states have appealed and the matter is pending before the 8th Circuit.

These court fights appear to be the main point behind the proposal, which all agree is inconsistent with Roe vs. Wade. Anti-abortion activists hope the US Supreme Court will take up the ban and use it as an excuse to overturn Roe.

Fifty Ohio lawmakers have signed on as sponsors of HB69.


State of the State in Wilmington

Research Overview

Gov. John Kasich has made Wilmington the site of his fifth State of the State address and has described Wilmington’s story of economic recovery as Ohio’s story of economic recovery.

While unemployment in Wilmington has dropped, it is important to look more closely at the local economic picture and how recent state policies have impacted this quintessential Ohio community.

5 Key Points

Read the full analysis: A Closer Look at How State Policies are Impacting Wilmington Analysis of Proposed Charter Legislation

Yesterday, KnowYourCharter released an analysis on the introduction of charter legislation HB2.  The report gave a general summary of what the bill includes along with a provision-by-provision analysis that gives an in-depth look at the good and the bad of the new legislation on the charter school system.

The report states that this legislation is the start of much needed charter legislation, but there is still much more room for reform.  HB2 begins the necessary steps towards strengthening the laws on charter sponsors to ensure that charter school reform works to benefit Ohio’s students and taxpayers.

In addition to strengthening this reform, KnowYourCharter outlined three core components necessary for real reform:
  1. Accelerate the process for real reform
  2. Ensure that charter schools are subject to the same public records laws and financial accountability standards as any public entity
  3. Fund charters in a way that does not penalize local public schools

You can view the entire analysis here and find more information on  The Ohio Charter School Accountability Project by visiting the KnowYourCharter website.


Legislators seek reversal of Kasich plan to end Medicaid for pregnant women


State Rep. Sykes speaks about Kasich proposals that could undermine efforts to lower Ohio’s infant mortality rates.

Today, Ohio lawmakers joined with advocates for women’s healthcare to hold a press conference calling for a reversal of policies proposed in the Kasich budget that they say could worsen Ohio’s infant mortality epidemic.

Ohio has one of the highest rates of infant mortality — the number of babies who do not reach their first birthday — in the country, 30% above the national average. The Governor’s proposed budget highlights efforts aimed at addressing the problem, including $13.4 million to connect women in high risk neighborhood with prenatal care. But the budget also contains a number of measures that legislators and advocates say will make the problem worse. [Read more…]

Budget Briefing: Proposals Impacting Women

Governor Kasich’s 2-year budget contains a number of policies that could impact Ohio women.

The good: the budget contains additional funding for child care, preschool and maternal health and funds training for public colleges and universities to deal with sexual assaults.

The bad: the budget makes low-income women pay more for Medicaid coverage, forces many women who become pregnant or are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer to shop for insurance in the private market, and threatens the employment of thousands of women employed as independent home health care providers. And the proposed tax changes benefit the wealthy while raising taxes on the lowest-income Ohioans, the majority of whom are women.

View our latest budget briefing to see some of the ways Kasich’s proposals could impact the women of Ohio.

Budget Briefing: Funding Impacts of Charter Schools

With a very modest net increase in school funding overall, just 301 school districts — fewer than half —  are expected to see an increase in Gov. John Kasich’s proposed state budget. However, when factoring in the cost of charter schools on local school districts, one in three of those districts will see their proposed funding increases erased.

In our latest budget briefing, we break down the impacts of charter school funding on each district and show that even fewer school districts then were originally suggested will see funding increases as result of Gov. Kasich’s education funding plan.

Download the briefing and district-by-district table to see what the impacts are to your local school district:

Budget Briefing: K-12 Education Highlights

Governor Kasich’s budget proposal adds $700 million to schools, but the amount is offset by cuts in reimbursements for lost taxes and increased deductions for charter schools.

Key points:

  • Despite a record-sized budget of $72 billion, the net increase in education spending is just $464 million, which is below inflationary levels.
  • More than half of Ohio school districts will see less direct state aid in 2016 than they received last year.
  • 55% of Ohio school districts will receive less money now than they did six years ago.
Download our briefing on K-12 education proposals in the Kasich budget.

Ohio Tax Code Becoming More Regressive

Yesterday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich unveiled his latest two-year budget proposal, featuring a large cut in the state income tax, paid for with increased taxes on everyday purchases, on business activity and on oil and gas extraction.

This is not the first time Kasich has proposed cutting the state income tax — the state’s most progressive tax. The tax is designed so those at the top income level pay the highest rate. The state’s estate tax on inherited wealth was eliminated completely in the Governor’s first budget.

To pay for these tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy, the Governor’s budget proposes raising the state’s regressive sales tax and expanding it to more services — including parking and cable TV subscriptions.

People with low-incomes spend much of their income on things that are taxed. As a result, they pay a much larger share of their income on taxes in states with regressive tax systems that rely heavily on sales taxes to fund state spending. According to the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, the poorest 20% of Ohioans pay nearly 12 percent of their income on state and local taxes, compared to just 5.5% paid by the top 1%.

We crunched the numbers, and here’s how dramatic the shift has been in just six years.


Combined, the state’s income and estate taxes have declined from 45% of state general revenue to just 28%. At the same time, sales taxes have increased from 43% to 53% and now picks up the largest share of the cost of state government.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Sales Tax 42.6% 40.2% 45.5% 47.2% 52.0% 53.3%
Income & Estate Taxes 44.7% 45.7% 40.3% 39.2% 29.2% 27.6%
Other Taxes 12.7% 14.1% 14.2% 13.6% 19.0% 18.9%

Innovation Ohio Budget Briefing

Initial thoughts from Innovation Ohio President Keary McCarthy on yesterday’s state budget proposal.


Budget Proposal Favors Those At The Top, But Leaves More And More Ohioans Behind

  • Tax shift hasn’t worked. Since 2005, Ohio has repeatedly tried shifting taxes from the wealthy to everyone else in hopes of creating jobs. We have over 80,000 fewer jobs than we did a decade ago, meanwhile poverty is up and median income has fallen.
  • From one pocket to another. The proposed budget raises taxes on working Ohioans and businesses by $5.2 billion, to pay for a $5.7 billion income-tax cut that largely benefits those at the top.
  • Those who can afford it the least pay more. Decreasing Ohio’s progressive income tax and increasing the regressive sales tax means that those who can afford it the least now have to pay more.

[Read more…]