Last Chance for Conference Committee to Do the Right Thing Statement by Andrea Fejes, Coordinator of One Ohio Now

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2011 Contact: Andrea Fejes andrea@oneohionow.org 614- 420-2027

Columbus, Ohio –The conference committee is currently wrapping up meetings where they are ironing out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. One Ohio Now calls on the conference committee members to seize this last opportunity to solve the state’s shortfall with a balanced approach that includes revenue. The budget currently relies mostly on drastic cuts to services that a good economy needs – education, human services and public safety – and does not consider revenues that could be used to maintain investment in these services. The proposed budget if enacted without a balanced approach will undercut job growth and will have an impact on the quality of life of Ohioans. Reports from across the state are already coming in regarding the layoffs of municipal workers and teachers. The cuts to local government aid also hit at the heart of what makes our communities great places to work and live – safe neighborhoods, libraries, vibrant parks and an efficient transportation system. There is still time for the conference committee to do the right thing, by balancing spending cuts with wise revenue investments. They could start by strengthening a provision included in the budget by the Senate to review tax expenditures. The conference committee should take the next step to obtain revenue now by incorporating a meaningful reduction or expiration of the more than $7 billion given up every year in these tax breaks, credits and deductions. Many of these have not been reviewed in decades and benefit some of Ohio’s wealthiest and major corporations. The conference committee should also ensure corporate and personal income taxes are adequate and equitable to meet the state’s needs. The state legislature has one final opportunity to offset devastating cuts to education, local government and human services with prudent revenue investments. A balanced approach would meet today’s needs and position us for future prosperity. -30One Ohio Now is a coalition of over 45 member organizations ranging from those involved in health and human services and transportation to education and labor who are advocating for a balanced approach to addressing the state’s budget.

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