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Report: A Dozen Ways Deficit Talks Could Hurt Ohio

September 13, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A dozen lawmakers in Washington, including Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, are charged with finding ways to cut an additional $1.5 trillion from the federal debt. And a new report from Policy Matters Ohio outlines a dozen ways more deficit-trimming could hurt Ohio.

More than a third of funding in the state budget comes from Washington, and the report examines the ways additional cuts could damage a wide range of critical services.

Report author Wendy Patton, a senior associate with Policy Matters Ohio, says the federal budget pays for services Ohio needs, and jobs Ohioans hold.

"Further cutting weakens the economy, both national and Ohio economy, and erodes necessities for our communities, like education, nutrition, job training and health."

She says federal dollars make up the majority of funding for Ohio's Departments of Aging, Alcohol and Drug Addiction, and Job and Family Services. She adds that federal budget cuts are already hurting Ohio schools, corrections, and agriculture. The report recommends raising revenue, not just cutting budgets further.

Patton says the proposal the super-committee presents could change Ohio. If they replace lost revenue and return to tax levels of the economic boom in the 1990s, she predicts the state's future would brighten substantially. And she explains that it would mean tax hikes for wealthier individuals.

"We need to balance the cuts that hurt middle and lower-income families with higher revenues from those who have benefited the most at the top of our income ladder."

Patton says most importantly, the outcomes of the talks should maintain the long-held principle that reducing the debt should not increase poverty or inequality. The most recent cuts, under the federal Budget Control Act, total $900 billion.

The report is at

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH