ABLE to tackle state budget
by Tim Walters

(Plain Press, February 2006) Advocates for Budget Legislation Equality (ABLE) invites the community to a community forum, "Put a Heart Back in Ohio", on Saturday, Feb. 18th, from 10:00am - 12:00 noon, at West Side Ecumenical Ministry, 5209 Detroit Avenue.   This community forum is a first step to develop strategy and a working plan to develop a “People’s Budget” for Ohio’s next state budget.

Some may be saying “not already”.  Just last year, Ohio completed the most recent budget process determining what State dollars would be available and how they would be sent over the next two years.  Well as we all know, the budget that was finally passed in July was really cruel to the low income and working people of Ohio.  At the same time it also contained tax cuts for many of the wealthy in our state.

Now we are beginning to see and experience the results of these cuts. Many in our community lost critical health care services or were forced to pay hard earned dollars as co-pays for health care services.  Dental and vision services were significantly reduced and single adults saw still more programs such as disability medical, slashed. In addition, senior services and day care services were again given insufficient dollars to properly run their programs.  

This time around we cannot wait until the formal budget process begins to fight back.  If we are going to regain lost ground and indeed actually gain some ground for a change, we must start now.

The Feb. 18th forum is the first step to raise the community's voice in the budget legislative process. All members of the community are invited to attend the forum to participate, to learn and to be part of  developing a People’s Budget that will be the cornerstone of our upcoming budget battle.

You may feel that you do not understand the budget process and that your words will become lost as workers and professionals speak out. You may feel that you have little to contribute. IF YOU DO, YOU ARE WRONG.

This is not just for professionals, for well meaning suburbanites and for social work students. This is for those of you in the community affected by these cuts. We need your involvement. We need the expertise and understanding that comes from living with these budget cuts upfront and personal.  You know how these budget decisions have hurt and you know from experience what is needed to not only fix the current problem but to move ahead.

Join us on Feb. 18th.  Call Tim Walters at the May Dugan Center, 631-5800, for info on this meeting.


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