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Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality urges involvement in state budget process

Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality urges involvement in state budget process

(Plain Press, June 2019)     The state budget has an impact on all of us. It provides funding for public education, for building and repairing roads and bridges, health coverage to low-income families, and assistance to local governments which can be used for public safety and much more. Thus, it is important that individuals get involved in the process.

     This budget season Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality (NOBLE) has chosen to focus its efforts on several aspects of the state budget that we feel are important and would like to see implemented.

     NOBLE would like to see an expansion of publicly funded child care eligibility from 130% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) ($27,000 for a family of three) to 200% of the FPL, making eligibility available to more Ohio Families.

     NOBLE supports increased funding for senior services. Funding for senior services has experienced sharp decline over the years. These services provide support for Ohioans age 60 and older who live at home but need help as they age with basics like home-delivered meals, transportation and personal care. Cuts to senior services make it hard for elderly Ohioans to care for themselves and jeopardizes their safety.

     NOBLE supports increased funding for adult protective services. These services prevent physical, emotional and financial harm to vulnerable seniors. The Ohio Family Violence Prevention Project estimates that each year in Ohio 105,000 older adults (over 60) are abused or neglected. There is much need in the state for at least one caseworker in each county dedicated to making sure that seniors are safe, well cared for, and not living in fear or abuse. Current funding levels do not allow for this.

     NOBLE supports the protection of the Medicaid Expansion program in Ohio. Medicaid Expansion provides health insurance for 600,000+ Ohioans including individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($17,236 per year).  In 2017, lawmakers through the state budget proposed a freeze on Medicaid Expansion enrollment, had it not been for Governor Kasich’s veto this would have resulted in 500,000 Ohioans losing health insurance in the first 18 months of the freeze. We also oppose including burdensome work requirements, premiums and co-payments in order to get Medicaid health services.

     NOBLE supports strengthening of the State of Ohio Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by making it refundable. The EITC is a tax credit targeted at working people who have low to moderate incomes, particularly those with children. Its federal counterpart has been effective at lifting families out of poverty. If made refundable the state EITC would put money into the pockets of low-income working people.

     NOBLE understands that it takes financial resources to implement the above priorities and thus we suggest generating revenue by supporting the Houses amended version of the state budget (House Bill 166). This bill tightens the limited liability loophole, lowering the amount companies who claim business income deductions can write off from state income taxes from $1250,000 to $100,000. This would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state. NOBLE supports this effort and would like to see the deduction amount even lower.

     The state budget must be signed into law by June 30, 2019. Thus, we urge you to act fast! It is important that you make your voices heard in the budget process. If any of the above issues are of importance to you, NOBLE suggests you contact key state legislators in the House and Senate including : Representative Scot Oelslager (District 48) at 614-752-2438 or rep48@ohiohouse.gov; Representative Jack Cera (District 96) at 614-466-3735 or rep96@ohiohouse.gov; Senator Matt Dolan (District 24) at 614-466-8056 or Dolan@ohiosenate.gov; and Senator Vernon Sykes (District 28) at 6`14-466-7041 or Sykes@ohiosenate.gov.

     NOBLE will hold its next meeting on June 12that 3500 Lorain Avenue at 5:30 p.m. Join us to ensure your voice is heard in the state budget process.

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