Advocates for low-income press for restoration of cuts
Given the news of late of the potential for excess revenue this fiscal year, with potentially up to half a billion dollars flowing into the budget right when Senate and House negotiations take place, everyone is lining up with advice on how to spend it. Governor Kasich, for his part, has said he would like to give a tax cut in 2012, but won’t say which tax. Legislators would like to kick some money back to generous donors, the nursing home lobby.
Advocates for Ohio’s Future jumped into the fray yesterday, with a press conference highlighting just how hard the Great Recession has hurt some of the neediest Ohioans:
- one-third of Ohioans are living below the income standard for self-sufficiency
- human services agencies cannot meet the demand for food assistance, affordable housing, mental health care, etc.
They are particularly concerned about how Kasich’s plan to transition more long-term care patients from nursing homes to in-home care did not come with additional funding. This is NOT to say they want more money to go to nursing homes, already the largest recipient of funds in the entire state budget — more on that subject later. Instead, they would like more funds directed at in-home care alternatives. Similarly, they are concerned about plans to transition mental health care to a central Medicaid agency and the impact on those with behavioral health problems.
It is smart to enter the fray now and get in line for any additional revenue before other, more influential lobbying groups have spoken for all of it.
The Columbus Dispatch has the Kasich reaction, which is trickle-down economics at its best. Spokesperson Rob Nichols says the Governor stands by his plan to cut taxes: “At the end of the day, the biggest strain on social services in this state is a lack of jobs.” So we’re going to help the mentally ill and elderly by creating jobs at Bob Evans? OK then, problem solved.
It’s an uphill battle, but it will be interesting to see if the advocates are successful.