Speak up now for children!

Ohio senators are now debating the House-passed biennial budget which includes a new, bipartisan formula which could finally create fair funding allocation across school districts after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the way the State allocates K-12 funding is unconstitutional. Without strong citizen input, the Senate is likely to drop this Cupp-Patterson formula. Find your Senator here: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov.  Tell them what you want to see in the 2022-23 budget.

The Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio and Hunger Network in Ohio teamed up Monday, May 2 for an excellent short webinar on the House-passed budget and ways to improve it in the Senate. CDF-Ohio is part of the Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition of 23 statewide nonprofits who are advocating for provisions to ensure that Ohio children gain safety and the conditions to thrive.  The pandemic has made this even more urgent.  Here are some key talking points for advocates:

  1. No to the $380 million income tax cut in the House budget: it will go almost entirely to wealthy people. Nine income tax cuts in the last 15 years have made Ohio’s tax structure much more regressive as local communities have been compelled to raise sales tax to replace big cuts in state funding. Now, low-income Ohioans pay over 12% of their income on state and local taxes, compared to just over 6% for wealthy Ohioans.
  2. Close the LLC income tax loophole so that companies like law firms will pay their fair share of taxes. This could generate up to $1 billion in new revenue.
  3. Make Ohio’s earned income tax credit fully refundable. This is a tax cut that benefits the lowest-income working families, who will put that money into the economy.
  4. Keep the Cupp-Patterson school funding formula passed by the House. This will allocate state aid based on a consistent standard of needed educational inputs and the specific economic realities of each district. Currently, there is no formula. The local tax base has a huge impact on the quality of the public education for the children of those communities.
  5. Invest in children! Great ways to do this include raising the income limit for child care subsidies to 200% of the federal poverty level (it’s currently 130%), increasing funding for food aid and affordable housing, and adding an earmark to help families afford broadband.

For more background, the Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition has a set of policy briefs developed in collaboration with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased disparities. Kinds of jobs where people could stay home are associated with higher incomes, and jobs in service fields are associated with the terrible increase in poverty. This chart shows how the state’s sales and income tax revenues have gone up a lot, meaning the Legislature has money they can apply to children’s needs. There’s no excuse for being stingy!

Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming,  and a member of the diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team.