Ohio’s oil and gas resources have caught the attention of drillers, investors and political leaders alike. Thanks to a process known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), substantial reserves of oil and gas trapped deep under the surface can be extracted and brought to market, with a potential value of hundreds of billions of dollars. Though a shale boom potentially could bring tens of thousands of jobs to Ohio, environmental concerns have raised doubts about whether fracking and its associated processes are safe. However, environmental issues are not the primary focus of our report. Because creating jobs will do little good if we poison our people and destroy our state, we believe it is self-evident that fracking should be halted if threats to public health and safety cannot be resolved. But if fracking does go forward, we believe that the economic benefits should be shared fairly with ALL Ohioans, not transferred out of state or allowed to flow down a one-way street in the direction of Big Oil. In our report, “Fracking, Fairness and the Future,” we call on Governor Kasich and state lawmakers to ensure that Ohio workers, landowners and taxpayers receive a fair share and a fair shake if the state decides to allow expanded drilling for oil and gas. Our recommendations include: charging industry a reasonable severance tax and sharing the revenue with local governments hit hard by budget cuts and poised to deal with the local impacts of increased drilling; establishing a landowner’s bill of rights; and creating a “Hire Ohio” policy to ensure new jobs go primarily to the Ohioans who need them. Read the executive summary. Read the report. Read the press release. Visit our map of fracking locations in Ohio. Visit our fracking resources page.
Research SummaryWhile most Ohioans mistakenly think the intent of Issue 3 is stopping the federal mandate to purchase health insurance, a popular aim of conservatives, our latest report outlines why we believe their support is misguided. As Ohio’s own Attorney General has acknowledged, Ohio’s constitution has no impact on the applicability of a federal law. However, far beyond taking a merely symbolic swipe at the federal law, our report shows that the language of Issue 3 contains such loosely-worded definitions that, upon examination, reveal the amendment has the potential to snag a whole host of current and future laws, dear to the heart of conservatives, rendering them unconstitutional. Our report describes a number of items in the conservative agenda that run afoul of the language of Issue 3. Among them are new laws banning certain types of abortion procedures, as well as proposals to reform or privatize the state’s workers compensation system, drug-test welfare recipients and ban human cloning. Read the report. Read the press release.
September 23, 2011 represents a milestone for the Affordable Care Act, which was signed on March 23, 2010 by President Obama. While the bulk of the law’s key provisions are to take effect on January 1, 2014, many others have gradually been implemented since 2010. Exactly a year ago several significant provisions—entitled the Patient’s Bill of Rights—took effect. This report evaluates what these reforms have meant for Ohioans, particularly in light of experiencing two different administrations. Read the report. Read the press release.
In November, Ohioans will vote on a ballot initiative – Issue 3, better known as the “Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment” – that would amend the state Constitution to prohibit the imposition of a requirement that all individuals in the state purchase health insurance. The ballot issue is aimed at eliminating the so-called “individual mandate” to purchase health insurance contained in the recently enacted federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to by its opponents as “Obamacare.” While most legal scholars believe that passage of Issue 3 in Ohio will have no legal effect on the implementation of the ACA in Ohio, Innovation Ohio and professors Maxwell Mehlman and Jessie Hill of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law have found that the language of the constitutional amendment is so carelessly worded and ambiguous that its passage would threaten a wide range of already existing health programs, practices and policies in Ohio. Few Ohioans seem to have actually read the full text of Issue 3. But because adding an amendment to the constitution of our state is so important, we have analyzed the language, with an eye toward assessing its potential impact on existing law, policy and practice. This report is the result of that analysis. Read the report. Read the press release. The full text of Issue 3 can be found at the end of our report and on the Ballot Board website, buried within a copy of the certified petition filed in April, 2010.
Research OverviewThis report analyzes E-school performance ratings and student graduation rates, their costs compared to traditional schools, and the tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money E-school operators receive for running them. We also highlight the extensive political contributions the state’s two most prominent E-school operators have made to Ohio legislators and state-wide office-holders. Findings include:
- Of Ohio’s 7 state-wide E-schools (which account for 90% of all E-school enrollment), six are not even rated “effective” by the Ohio Department of Education.
- 5 of the 7 have graduation rates worse than Cleveland Municipal Schools, which has the lowest graduation rate of all traditional school districts.
- Far from “saving’ money, E-Schools actually cost the state TWICE as much per pupil as traditional public schools.
On April 26th, Innovation Ohio delivered a letter to Auditor Yost calling for a complete audit of this council, noting that “Performing both a performance and special audit of the WCC is consistent with your pledge to bring “clean, accountable and efficient government” to the people of Ohio. “ Ohio’s taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent. The full text of the letter can be viewed here.
Research OverviewGovernor John Kasich recently introduced his proposed two-year ‘Jobs Budget,’ HB153. While the Administration claims to be creating “a platform for growth, for job creation and for a resurgence of this state,” it appears that the Governor’s budget does just the opposite. The extensive cuts contained in this budget will result not only in the elimination or reduction of key services, but also in extensive job loss throughout the state. Innovation Ohio conservatively estimates that in the absence of large local tax increases to offset the Administration’s proposed cuts to K-12 education, higher education, state personnel, and local governments, 51,052 direct jobs are likely to be lost. Read the Report. Read the Press Release.
Research OverviewSenate Bill 5 grants substantial and unchecked power to the Governor, Auditor of State and Board of Regents to suspend public employee salaries, benefit increases and modify or terminate collective bargaining agreements. In fact, the ease in which any of these entities may declare fiscal emergency or watch, allowing the elimination of specific contractual provisions within the agreement, undermines the collective bargaining agreement. All provisions advocated for by the employee organization, and reluctantly agreed to by the public employer, may be targeted, thereby ignoring the sanctity of the contract and allowing the pubic employer to retroactively repeal provisions of the agreement they could not suppress through the bargaining process. Not only does SB 5 grant the Governor, Auditor of State and the Board of Regents the broad and ill-defined power to declare fiscal watches and/or emergencies and thereby open the door to the modification and/or termination of existing collective bargaining agreements, it also denies public employees any recourse to challenge those actions. Read the report.
Governor John Kasich introduced Ohio’s proposed Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 on March 15th, 2011. The governor’s announcement falsely asserted a one percent increase for primary education in FY12 and FY13, a claim that only withstands scrutiny if revisionist history is applied and State Fiscal Stabilization Funds are wiped from the budget ledger. Upon further study, perhaps even more disturbing is the ideologically-driven commitment to expanding school choice programs without regard to the negative impact such policies would have on funding for traditional public schools. In addition to the $395 million (FY12) and $305 million (FY13) in statewide funding cuts to primary education through the foundation program, Governor Kasich’s proposed expansion of school choice would steer even more money from school districts to unaccountable private and charter schools. Specifically, Innovation Ohio projects that by FY13, the Kasich budget would transfer an additional $567.7 million to private and failing charter schools. Such a diversion leaves school districts, which are responsible for educating 1.7 million children, with drastically reduced resources at the worst possible time. Local property taxpayers face a troubling choice: dramatically increase their own local property tax burden, or watch their school systems suffer as private and charter schools thrive from historically unprecedented increases in state support. Innovation Ohio believes that forcing communities to choose between increasing their local taxes or having their school districts to absorb these hidden education cuts is an irresponsible and ideologically driven policy.Read the report (PDF). Read the press release.