To: Interested Parties
From: Ohio Democratic Party Senior Communications Advisor Robyn Patterson
March 6, 2018
Re: The Real State of the State in Ohio
- “There’s just no getting around it, we are struggling.” — Gavin DeVore Leonard, state director for One Ohio Now
- “Quite frankly, the state’s numbers right now in terms of health, education, the economy, employment — we’re doing OK, but we’re certainly not standing out in the crowd when it comes to the nation. We’re in the middle towards the bottom.” — Tom Sutton, professor of political science at Baldwin Wallace University
- “All the data points add up to: we’re not doing well.” — Matt Mayer, president of Opportunity Ohio
Tonight Ohio Gov. John Kasich will deliver his final State of the State address, and there’s only so much spinning you can do about these numbers (rankings courtesy of U.S. News & World Report):
- 40th overall
- 36th in health care
- 41st in education
- 32nd in economy
- 37th in fiscal stability
- 40th in quality of life
So what happened to Ohio? Why are we failing in so many performance measures? The One Ohio Now coalition notes, “Beginning in 2005, Ohio cut billions of dollars in tax revenue, and it did not bring new jobs or investment. Even during last year’s budget debate, as the national economy continued to improve, Ohio policymakers scrambled to pass a balanced budget as a result of a revenue shortfall.”
Simply put — the Ohio Republican agenda of massive tax giveaways to the wealthy and special interests has failed. The GOP agenda has resulted in huge cuts to local governments — which have in turn resulted in slashed services and tax hikes at the local level. For many communities, this has meant that recession-era economic stagnation never ended.
As Kasich’s Number 2, Mary Taylor backed Kasich’s tax-shifting policies, and she even stumped for him on the presidential campaign trail.
And Mike DeWine and Jon Husted would bring more of the same failed, trickle-down policies that hurt Ohio communities and hold back our economy. (For a history lesson, check out the fact that Husted was House speaker when the Republicans began their failed experiment in trickle-down economics.)
It’s not just the economy that’s struggling — Ohio has been ground zero of the nation’s opioid crisis.
Mike DeWine has been Ohio’s “top cop” just as the opioid epidemic has exploded, and the number of overdose deaths continues to escalate. Last year, Ohio’s drug overdose deaths increased by 39 percent, which was the third-biggest spike in the country.
Ohio’s future depends on a strong education system — and that’s another area of concern.
- Over the past seven years, Ohio’s education system has fallen from fifth in the nation — to 22nd.
- National media outlets are drawing attention to the growing scandal around the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrowonline charter school.
- Ohio ranks 45th among all states in college affordability, and Ohio has the most student debt in the country.
DeWine, Taylor and Husted watched as Republican lawmakers slashed funding for our kids’ schools and stood by as Ohio became the “Wild, Wild West” of charter schools.
While he was in the legislature, Husted sponsored the law that eliminated direct state oversight of charter schools. As failing charter schools have shuttered, DeWine’s office has struggled to collect on the millions that Ohio taxpayers are owed.
WHAT’S THE STATE OF THE STATE?
So what’s the state of the state under Republican leadership? Well… it’s not good.
On one performance measure after another, Ohio is struggling — and Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have been a big part of the problem. We can’t trust them with Ohio’s future.
And we certainly can’t trust them if DeWine is “doing everything in his power to avoid a debate.”
In contrast to the GOP, Democrats are ready and willing to talk about the challenges facing our state and our plans for Ohio’s future.
Tune in tomorrow evening to watch the Ohio Democratic Party’s fourth debate. WTOL-TV will air the debate live starting at 5 p.m., and you can watch online at ohiodems.org/live.