By increasing investments in common sense public services in the 2018-19 state budget, Ohio could train more workers for jobs of the future, better educate our children, stem the rising tide of addiction and help more Ohioans get a ride to work on public transit.
A new report from Policy Matters Ohio outlines some of the investments required to restore the foundation for strong and healthy communities across Ohio. For example, as the state grapples with the drug epidemic, a $30 million investment could fund treatment and prevention. While many students struggle to afford college, Ohio lawmakers need to invest an additional $90 million a year in public higher education just to maintain current levels of service and tuition.
“Investments like these are about Ohio’s future,” said report author and Policy Matters senior project director Wendy Patton. “Whether it’s treatment for addiction or public transportation, by systematically underfunding, we’re eroding programs communities rely upon to function properly.”
The Policy Matters report details how from pre-kindergarten to support for colleges, from local-government aid to assistance for hungry Ohioans, more investment is needed. Since 2005, Ohio lawmakers have spent billions of dollars on tax cuts and tax breaks that primarily benefit the wealthiest. As a result, revenue growth is sluggish as the cost of deferred investment needs rise.
“These are not radical suggestions. We are talking about basic programs communities need to function properly,” Patton said. “If we invested to meet the needs of Ohio’s families and children, the future would be brighter for all of us.”