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Written Testimony on Sub HB 153Senate Finance CommitteeJune 2, 2011By: Andrea Fejes, Coordinator
Chair Widener, Vice Chair Jones, Ranking Member Skindell and members of the Senate Finance Committee, thankyou for the opportunity to provide testimony on Substitute House Bill 153, the biennial budget. My name isAndrea Fejes and I am the coordinator of One Ohio Now.One Ohio Now is a statewide coalition of over 45 organizations ranging from health and human services andeducation to public transportation and working families. Coalition members have come together over the pastyear to
examine the state’s crisis and suggest reasonable solutions
that minimize the impact to Ohioans andensures our state emerges strong when prosperity returns.
In Ohio, as in most other states, we’re
facing some pretty tough times.The longest and deepest national recession since the Great Depression has made it harder for us to find work,provide for our families, support our communities or maintain positive expectations for the future. The sad reality
is that just as people’s needs are rising dramatically, the resources to meet those needs are declining. In fact, Ohio
and other states have seen unprecedented losses of revenue in this recession.Now Ohio does not have sufficient resources to provide essential services and invest in our future. In response tothis crisis, we have mostly relied on reducing services that assist communities and vulnerable families who arestruggling through no fault of their own.We have seen the result of these cuts
libraries have decreased hours and closed branches; access to mentalhealth services has been reduced to those that are in dire need of help; county Job and Family Services agencieshave had to serve increasing numbers of families with fewer resources; and public transit agencies have restrictedservices limitin
g people’s access to work
and their communities.We have also begun to hear what additional proposed cuts will mean to local communities. Elected officials fromcities across Ohio have testified before this committee that they will have to lay off workers, including policeofficers and fire fighters, if the proposed budget is approved.Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander says the cuts could force him to lay off 32 employees, most of themdeputies. Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan testified that the city will have to lay off employees to deal with the$9.2 million in cuts the city is facing. This is in addition to Dayton City Schools eliminating 294 jobs which includes1 out of every 10 teachers. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has already laid off 321 city employees, including 81police officers and 51 firefighters. Loveland will have to lay off their part-time police officers.