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Coalition: Balance Needed to Solve Ohio’s Budget Woes

January 14, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Lawmakers will be getting an earful from over 30 organizations gathering at the Statehouse today. A diverse coalition is kicking off the "One Ohio Now" campaign to ask leaders to consider leaving all options on the table when it comes to solving the state's budget woes.

Senior associate for Policy Matters Ohio, Wendy Patton says with a projected $8 billion budget shortfall, something needs to be done now.

"Ohio faces serious fiscal problems; a lot of people could get hurt, depending on the outcome of this budget. Reason requires a balanced approach that goes beyond the cuts-only approach and considers all options to get to a solution that's best for we the people."

According to "One Ohio Now," cuts in services during a recession, when needs are high, could hurt families and communities already reeling from the economic crisis. Patton says a balanced approach to the budget could help minimize the effect and lay the groundwork for recovery.

Patton says the state budget affects the daily lives of all citizens and a cuts-only approach to the budget would be devastating, especially in critical times.

"The state pays about half of elementary and secondary school costs, it keeps police and firefighters at work, it helps pay local property taxes and it supports services like meat inspections, virus control and emergency disaster response."

Looking at Ohio's recent history, Patton says reductions in revenue have not helped spur job creation.

"A big tax cut was given to many groups in 2005, ostensibly to bring jobs to the state, and that simply has not materialized."

Newly elected Gov. John Kasich is expected to submit a budget proposal in March, which would take effect on July 1.

Today's rally will be held at the West Plaza of the Statehouse at 2 p.m.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH