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Continued Cuts

Ohio leaders push back against Kasich-planned tax cuts for the wealthy

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 9, 2014
City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld helped coordinate a contingent of bipartisan, elected officials to testify at a House Finance Committee meeting last week against Gov. John Kasich’s proposed across-the-board income tax cuts, which Sittenfeld connects to a decline in important public services around Cincinnati.    
by German Lopez 12.26.2013 117 days ago
Posted In: News, Economy at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Report: Minimum Wage Increase to Benefit 330,000 Ohioans

Advocates argue minimum wage increases spur economic growth

When Ohio’s minimum wage automatically increases by 10 cents to $7.95 per hour at the start of 2014, roughly 330,000 workers will receive raises across the state, according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). That could be good news for all of Ohio: EPI found the minimum wage increase will benefit the rest of the state through nearly $39 million in economic impact and 300 new full-time jobs. “Ohio workers and the Ohio economy will both benefit from this raise for our lowest-paid neighbors,” said Amy Hanauer, executive director of left-leaning think tank Policy Matters Ohio, in a statement. “The employees who benefit will turn around and spend money in our communities, stimulating growth here.” The automatic increase is a result of a constitutional amendment approved by Ohio voters in 2006 that hiked the minimum wage to $6.85 per hour and pegged it to rises in the cost of living. Ohio isn’t alone in the increase, however. Policy Matters estimates 10 other states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and New Jersey — automatically increase their minimum wages each year to keep up with inflation. The nationwide minimum wage hikes “will generate over $619 million in new economic activity and support creation of 4,600 new full-time jobs as businesses expand to meet increased consumer demand,” according to Policy Matters. The projections come at a time progressives are working on the national stage to increase the federal minimum wage, which, at $7.25 per hour, is becoming increasingly irrelevant as Congress fails to keep up with many states’ minimum wage expansions. President Barack Obama’s Fair Minimum Wage Law would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2015 and — perhaps most importantly — ensure the minimum wage increases each year to keep up with the cost of living. The left-leaning National Employment Law Project estimates the hike would help 30 million Americans and help grow the economy. Opponents argue a minimum wage increase, especially one as rapid as Obama’s proposal, would burden businesses with considerably higher labor costs. They argue companies would drop employees or raise prices to cope with higher expenses. Advocates typically tout a minimum wage hike as a matter of basic fairness. They claim the federal minimum wage would be $10.55 per hour today if it kept up with inflation. Meanwhile, the economics research on the effects of the minimum wage is fairly mixed. Some studies linked higher minimum wages to less employment, while other studies found no effects at all.
 
 
by German Lopez 04.15.2013
Posted In: Economy, Budget, News at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
ohio statehouse

Federal Sequestration Cuts Hurt Ohio

Cuts affecting education, housing, environment

Policy Matters Ohio released a report Monday that gives a hint of how federal sequestration, a series of across-the-board federal budget cuts that kicked in March 1, will affect Ohio. The impact of sequestration is already being felt in various areas, including education, housing and the environment. In Cincinnati, the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency plans to carry out $1 million in cuts by dropping 200 kids from the Head Start program, which helps low-income families get their children into preschool and other early education programs. Cuts will be spread out all around the state, leading to cuts in tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency, reduced research programs at major universities and the elimination of military jet flyovers at certain events. Wendy Patton, a senior project director at Policy Matters, says the cuts are only the beginning. “We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg now,” Patton says, citing cuts in Chillicothe that will force the Chillicothe Metropolitan Housing Authority to serve 47 less families through the housing voucher program. “We will see this kind of information come out across Ohio’s 88 counties as the months roll by.” In February, the White House outlined how sequestration cuts will affect Ohio in its efforts to convince Congress to stop the cuts. The White House estimated about 26,000 civilian defense department employees would have to be furloughed, nearly $6.9 million in funding to clean air and water would have to be cut and 350 teacher and aide jobs would be put at risk, among other cuts. Even the unemployed will be hurt through cuts to unemployment insurance benefits — bad news in an already weak economy. In Ohio, about $5.3 million in federal grant money going toward unemployment insurance will be cut in a way that particularly affects the long-term unemployed, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. “We already have a problem with the long-term unemployed,” says Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters. “This just makes it worse for these folks.”An analysis from The Washington Post found employers often discriminate against anyone who has been unemployed for a considerable time during the hiring process.
 
 
by German Lopez 03.19.2013
Posted In: News, Budget, Taxes at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
ohio statehouse

Policy Matters Pushes Earned Income Tax Credit

Tax credits could be progressive alternative to governor's tax plan

Policy Matters Ohio is now pushing an earned income tax credit (EITC) that would benefit the state’s poor and middle class, including more than 822,000 working families. The plan could be a progressive replacement for Republican Gov. John Kasich’s proposed tax plan, which some reports claim disproportionately benefits the wealthy. The EITC is a tax credit targeted at working people who have low to moderate income, particularly those with children. It is currently used by the federal government, 24 states and Washington, D.C. The report from Policy Matters, a left-leaning policy research group, found a 10-percent EITC would cost about $184 million per year, producing an estimated $224 million in economic benefits, and a 20-percent EITC would cost about $367 million per year, producing an estimated $446 million in economic benefits. If state legislators set aside Gov. John Kasich’s tax proposals, the state would be left with about $280.4 million in general revenue available for fiscal year 2014 and about $690.2 million available in fiscal year 2015, according to an analysis of Kasich’s budget bluebook. That would be more than enough money in fiscal year 2014 to pay for a 10-percent EITC, and even a 20-percent EITC would only eat up about half of available funds in fiscal year 2015. Using a model from the nonpartisan Institute for Tax and Economic Policy, the Policy Matters report found a state EITC would benefit Ohioans making less than $51,000 per year. Under a 10-percent credit, qualifying families making less than $18,000 would get $190 on average, qualifying families making between $18,000 and $33,000 would get $323 on average and qualifying families making between $33,000 and $51,000 would get $149 on average, according to the report. Under a 20-percent credit, benefits would be bumped up to $381 on average for qualifying families making less than $18,000 per year, $646 on average for qualifying families making between $18,000 and $33,000 and $298 for qualifying families making between $33,000 and $51,000, according to the report. These benefits would then be spent in a way that helps families, local communities and small businesses, according to the Policy Matters report: “Families that claim the EITC use the refunds to pay for basic needs like housing, food, transportation and child care. These purchases stimulate local economies. A number of studies focusing on the economic impacts of the EITC find that small businesses and other taxes benefit from a cash infusion into the local economy.” The report claims a state EITC would also result in a fairer tax system that better helps the state’s low- and middle-income earners, stronger incentives to work and better social and economic results for EITC recipients. The Policy Matters report touts the federal EITC, which was created by former President Gerald Ford in 1975 and has been expanded by every presidential administration since, to support adopting a similar policy in the state: “The federal Earned Income Tax Credit does more than any other program to keep working families out of poverty. … (It) is lauded for its direct impact in keeping families with children above the poverty line, making work pay, and sending federal dollars to local communities.” Anyone making $50,270 a year or less qualifies for the federal EITC. The tax credit is built so it particularly benefits families with children, and it “encourages families making at or near minimum wage to work more hours since the credit has a longer, more gradual phase-out range compared to other programs,” according to the Policy Matters report. The report says the federal EITC has already benefited more than 950,000 Ohio families with an average refund of $2,238. In previous analyses, Policy Matters found Kasich’s tax proposals disproportionately benefit the wealthy and actually raise taxes on the state’s poor and middle class (“Smoke and Mirrors,” issue of Feb. 20). But Kasich says his tax plan will cut taxes for “job creators,” particularly the state’s small businesses. The governor’s tax proposals are facing bipartisan resistance, and the Republican-controlled Ohio House is currently considering setting the proposals aside while the rest of the budget is worked out, according to Gongwer. In a press conference on March 14, local officials around the state, including Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, suggested dropping income tax cuts and instead using the revenue to restore local government funding cuts, which have totaled $1.4 billion since Kasich took office.
 
 
by German Lopez 02.27.2013
at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Findlay Market ideal for restroom, Kasich cuts local funding, The Banks exceeds goals

A report issued by Director of Public Services Michael Robinson found Findlay Market would be the best place for a freestanding public restroom, which could cost as little as $35,000. The idea has been heavily pushed by Councilman Chris Seelbach, who has argued that the restrooms are necessary to accommodate a growing population and wider activity in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. A new Policy Matters Ohio report found local government funding has been reduced by $1.4 billion since Gov. John Kasich took office, leading to a nearly 50-percent reduction in state funding. Most of the cuts came from the elimination of the estate tax, which would have provided $625.3 million to local governments in the 2014-2015 budget, but it was repealed in 2011 by the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature and Kasich. When presenting his 2013 budget proposal, City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. said the state funding reductions cost Cincinnati $22.2 million in revenues for the year. In 2012, the team behind The Banks’ public construction met or exceeded all four major project goals, according to the annual report from The Banks Public Partnership. Contractors installed public safety technologies throughout the intermodal transit center and parking facility, awarded a trade contract for a new Pete Rose Way pedestrian bridge and walkway and prepared design and funding documents for a river walk along the Ohio River. The project has also gone more than 400,000 hours without a lost-time accident. The Banks previously won what John Deatrick, project executive, called the “Oscar” of planning awards, which CityBeat covered here. City Council delayed a vote on opposing the sale of more than 700 Section 8 units in Avondale, Walnut Hills and Millvale because they want meet with the firm buying the units first. City officials have scheduled the meeting for next week. CityBeat previously covered Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls’ opposition to the deal here. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency lifted a requirement that forced any new sewer development that added waste water to the county’s overall system to offset its gains with a fourfold reduction in storm water taken in. BuzzFeed, the popular viral video and pop culture website, listed the Cincinnati Public Library as No. 28 on the list “The 30 Best Places To Be If You Love Books.” Ohio’s imprisonment of fewer youth may be part of a nationwide trend. Three Cincinnati area businesses made Interactive Health’s “Healthiest Companies in America”: Standard Textile Inc., Totes-Isotoner and American Modern Insurance Group. Mercy Health’s Anderson and Fairfield branches made the Truven Health Analytics ranking released this week, putting the two hospitals among the nation’s best. Omya Inc. is receiving a five-year, 40-percent tax credit for completing a consolidation of its regional headquarters to Cincinnati, which should create 25 full-time jobs and generate $1.4 million in annual payroll. Breaking news: Teenagers are horny. Headline from The Cincinnati Enquirer: “Hundreds of Madeira High students involved in sexting?” A Dayton donut shop is apparently one of the best in the nation, according to Saveur magazine. Do video games cause violence? Apparently, the debate is a lot more complicated than most people think. Mouse brain cells can live longer than the mice they came from.
 
 

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