Have a Heart Ohio protests
President George W. Bush’s proposed Fiscal Year 2008 budget

(Plain Press, March 2007) Have a Heart Ohio, a nonpartisan, statewide group of over 100 organizations and individuals who advocate for policies and programs that provide basic human needs and improve the lives of Ohio’s most vulnerable persons, added its voice to those opposed to President George W. Bush Administration’s proposed 2008 budget.

“This budget says that maintaining investments in areas like education, the environment, and help for low-income people isn’t as important as extending tax cuts for millionaires.  Those are the wrong priorities — for Ohio and for the country,” said John Corlett, Chair of Have a Heart Ohio.

Have a Heart Ohio notes that the President’s budget would shifts millions of dollars in costs on to Ohio at a time when the state already faces a state budget funding shortfall and the state’s credit rating has been lowered to “negative.” Ohio will be forced either to raise taxes to compensate for the lost federal funds or scale back key public services.  Moreover, even as it “passed the buck” to states, the budget would worsen the federal government’s budgetary situation, because the tax cuts would cost much more than the program cuts would save.

Some programs that help large numbers of Ohioans would be eliminated entirely.  Other programs would be cut deeply over the next five years.  For example, according to a brief report released on February 22, 2007 by The Center for Community Solutions, the budget would:

• Cut Ohio’s K-12 education funding by $234.5 million over the next five years relative to the 2007 level adjusted for inflation.
• Cut Ohio’s childcare funding by $15.1 million over the next five years relative to the 2007 level adjusted for inflation.
• Cut Ohio’s Head Start funding by $8.4 million next year and by $90.8 million over the next five years relative to the 2007 level adjusted for inflation.
• Cut Ohio’s funding for low-income energy assistance by $22.9 million next year and by $129.2 million over the next five years compared to the 2007 level adjusted for inflation.
• Cut Ohio’s funding for clean and safe drinking water by $24.8 million next year and by $145.5 million over the next five years relative to the 2007 level adjusted for inflation.
•Completely eliminate the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which helps 13,000 low-income elderly Ohioans.  Half of the seniors who are a part of this program already report running out of food during the month, and 90 percent of them are homebound.
• Cut Ohio’s community development funding by $33.2 million next year and by $196.9 million over the next five years relative to the 2007 level adjusted for inflation.
• Eliminate a set of grants that assist state and local law enforcement, costing Ohio $16.4 million in guaranteed funding next year and $84.8 million in guaranteed funding over the next five years.

Editor’s Note: Community Solutions report referenced in this article is President’s Budget Weakens Vital Services and shifts Hundreds of Millions in Costs to State of Ohio and Local Governments by Erick Thoms, The full report may be found the Community Solutions Website at:
http://www.communitysolutions.com/images/upload/resources/BushBudget.pdf

 

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