On Thursday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a budget bill that lays out Ohio’s priorities for the next two years. This budget falls short to invest to solve Ohio’s most pressing needs. As people of faith, we want our budget to prioritize the hungry, the sick, and those who are marginalized in society. Through strategic investments, we can build up the Beloved community.
Human Services: The budget does build on Governor DeWine’s proposals to invest more resources into at-risk students and foster care programs. However, the House failed to invest in affordable housing or food banks. This budget does not address the ongoing use of federal dollars sent to the state to address poverty. The TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program has resources available that should be used to help families meet their basic needs - such as food and housing, but the Ohio House failed to prioritize our communities most at-risk in this budget.
Revenue: The Ohio House also proposed multiple tax changes with a mixed result. The House is closing or limiting some of the most egregious tax loopholes that plague our tax code, but use the new revenue to cover the cost of another income tax cut. After 14 years, 8 tax bracket changes, and $6 billion of lost annual revenue, we know that these tax cuts don’t improve Ohio’s economy or help families struggling the most to get by.
School funding: The House was also unable to finalize their work on a school funding formula fix. Many issues remain, especially the question surrounding high poverty school districts and what it will take to close the achievement gap that exists based on community wealth. There remains an opportunity that education advocates and lawmakers will be able to fix some of the flaws in the ‘Cupp-Patterson’ school funding proposal.
Our Hope for the Senate- We call on the Senate to build on some of the positive work done by the Ohio House by:
Invest $40 million into affordable housing in Ohio.
Expand food bank funding by $10 million.
Instead of an across the board income tax cut use that revenue to create a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit that will provided targeted support for low and middle income hardworking families.
Continue the work toward a school funding formula fix.