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by Kevin Osborne 04.13.2012
Posted In: Taxes, Public Policy, Poverty, Economy, Family at 03:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Group Pushes for Ohio Tax Change

Think tank: EITC would help working families

A nonpartisan think tank that advocates for poor and working class families is urging that Ohio adopt its own version of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

 

The group, Policy Matters Ohio, said a state version of the federal tax credit, set at 10 percent, would divert just $210 million from Ohio’s coffers but would benefit 949,000 low-income working families across the state. Such a credit would provide families with an average of $221 each, which Policy Matters Ohio described as “modest but helpful.”

 

Currently 24 states and the District of Columbia have Earned Income Tax Credits, ranging from 3.5 percent to 50 percent of the federal credit.

 

“A state EITC program enables families to work and build assets while reducing the impact of regressive income tax changes,” said a statement released by Policy Matters Ohio.

 

“A state EITC makes sense because recent changes to the personal income tax have provided greater tax reductions for higher-income earners than they have for lower- and middle-income families,” the statement continued.

 

The federal EITC is a refundable tax credit for low- and medium-income individuals and couples, and is considered the nation’s largest poverty relief program. When the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who qualify and claim the credit.

 

To qualify for the EITC, a recipient must have earned income of $49,000 or less. The credit is worth significantly more for families with children and is refundable, which means families receive cash refunds above their tax liability.

 

Created in 1975, the federal EITC is aimed at helping lift families with children about the poverty level, along with offsetting the burden of Social Security taxes and maintaining an incentive for people to work.

 

In Ohio, 949,692 people currently claim the federal EITC. The credit generates $2.1 billion for state residents, and the average refund is $2,211.

 

Founded in 2000, Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research organization that seeks to create “a more prosperous, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio,” through research and policy advocacy.

 

Based in Cleveland and Columbus, the organization is funded primarily through grants from groups like the Ford Foundation, the Sisters of Charity Foundation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Corp. for Enterprise Development and others.

 
 
by 08.05.2009
Posted In: Public Policy, Social Justice, History at 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Remembering the Unimaginable

Thursday will mark the 64th anniversary since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, obliterating most of the Japanese city and directly killing more than 80,000 people. Within a few months, another 50,000 would die from injuries or radiation poisoning.

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by German Lopez 04.25.2012
Posted In: Republicans, Democrats, News, Public Policy, Government at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Republicans Back Down on Voting Restrictions

Ohio GOP to repeal parts of its own passed legislation

This week, Republicans are moving forward with a partial repeal of HB 194, a bill that was blasted by voting rights groups for eliminating opportunities to vote early and disallowing pollworkers to guide voters to the correct precinct. The bill was also criticized by Democrats for curtailing voting rights in a way that made it harder for mostly Democratic constituents to vote.

The good news first: Most of HB 194 is being repealed. It’s good to see Republicans follow the advice of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a moderate Republican who called or the repeal of HB 194 earlier this year.

The bad news: Some new limits on voting rights are going to remain in place, and the entire repeal process, which involves the passing of SB 295, might be unconstitutional.

While it’s good to see HB 194 repealed, it’s not the only voting law Republicans enacted last year. The Ohio legislature also passed HB 224, which prohibited voting the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before election day.

For Democrats, this poses a bit of a problem. Democrats are happy to see most of the restrictions on voting repealed, but they want to see all of the restrictions repealed. If SB 295 passes, Democrats worry that the rest of the restrictions won’t be repealed because Republicans will think they have done enough.

Even the Obama team spoke on this issue. In an email to Obama supporters Tuesday, Greg Schultz, the Ohio State Director on the Obama team, urged voters to speak up: “This bill could mean an end to our last three days of early voting this November — and would change the rules, right in the middle of an election year. It's an unambiguous attack on our voting rights.”

The other problem is the repeal could be unconstitutional. After HB 194 passed, voters were quick to speak out against the new law and put it up for referendum in the November 2012 ballot. So Republicans are repealing a law that is already up for referendum. This is the first time that’s happened in the Ohio legislature, and Democrats claim it might be unconstitutional.

But a lot of that opposition may be pure political posturing. After all, Democrats were sure they were going to win the referendum on HB 194, and they were sure they could use it to get more supporters out to vote. With SB 295, the referendum of HB 194 could potentially be taken off the ballot, and state Democrats will lose one issue to hammer Republicans with in an election year.


In a sense, Democrats aren’t just upset about a “change of rules in the middle of an election year,” as Schultz put it in his email. They’re upset about a change in politics in the middle of an election year.


Regardless, SB 295 does have some legitimate problems. It’s good to see most of the draconian restrictions on voting repealed, but if Republicans really want to admit their mistake, they’ll repeal the rest of the restrictions as well.
 
 
by 04.16.2009
Posted In: Bailout, Public Policy at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Stimulating Stimulus Meeting

Hundreds of local people interested in rebuilding the economy instead of complaining about it gathered today for two sessions organized by Gov. Ted Strickland and State Sen. Eric Kearney (D-Avondale) to explain Ohio’s portion of the federal stimulus package. Besides Strickland aides, representatives from the Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Benefit Bank were on hand to educate local small businesses and nonprofits about utilizing stimulus dollars.

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by 11.29.2010
 
 

Free Testing on World AIDS Day

Because it can take years after exposure for symptoms to develop, many people who are infected with the virus that causes AIDS don't even realize it. More than one million people in the United States are estimated to be living with HIV, and approximately one in five people with HIV are unaware they're infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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by 08.20.2010
Posted In: Public Policy, Neighborhoods, Human Rights at 01:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Leaders Look at Columbus Model

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls will lead a contingent of elected officials and community leaders on a road trip to Columbus on Monday to look at some apartment complexes built for homeless people there.

The group will tour two complexes built by National Church Residences (NCR) that provide permanent, supportive housing to formerly homeless individuals.

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by 08.04.2011
 
 

Convention Aims to Reclaim Democracy

A coalition of progressive groups will hold a national convention later this month in Madison, Wis., the site of a hard-fought political battle to protect collective bargaining rights for public-sector labor unions.

Democracy Convention 2011 is scheduled for Aug. 24-28, and is envisioned as the inaugural session of what will become an annual event. It will feature several conferences on topics like community organizing, curtailing corporate influence in politics, economic democracy, independent media and constitutional reform.

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by 04.13.2010
Posted In: Public Policy, Immigration, Government at 03:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

They're Happy to Pay Taxes

Immigration reform supporters will hold a rally Wednesday afternoon, on the eve of Tax Day, to publicize recent research that indicates allowing current undocumented immigrants — or “illegal aliens” — to become legal, tax-paying citizens would produce billions of dollars in new tax revenues.

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by 10.29.2008
Posted In: 2008 Election, Public Policy, News at 01:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

City Council, Others Sound Off About Issue 8

This week’s issue of CityBeat features an article examining Issue 8, which proposes reviving the electoral system known as proportional representation (PR) for choosing members of Cincinnati City Council.

As is typical with most articles, time and space limitations prevented some material from being included in the print edition. Among such material this time includes City Councilman Jeff Berding, a leading PR opponent, elaborating on his reasons against the proposed switch; and City Councilman Chris Bortz, explaining why he opposes Issue 8 even though his political party — the Charter Committee — supports the change.

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by 05.16.2011
 
 

Minson Tribute Set for Tonight

Local and national leaders working to advance equal rights for LGBT people will gather tonight in Covington to unveil a national award in honor of the late Nancy Minson.

The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the Cincinnati Women's Political Caucus is co-sponsoring “Light of One, Power of Many: A Night to Honor Nancy Minson.” The event will be held at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, and begins with a reception at 6 p.m.

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