In the News: Ohioans to receive less help to quit smoking
Today’s budget headlines include potential public health consequences, job losses and reductions in services, and drastic cuts to education.
The Ohio Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-784-8669), once available at no cost to anyone who picked up the phone, received no funding in the new two-year state budget. As of July 1, the call-in line is available free only to pregnant women, Medicaid recipients and those who are uninsured.
Health advocates around the state are concerned about limitations to the easily accessible, highly effective Quit Line because smoking is on the rise.
Ohio’s adult smoking rate of 22.5 percent in 2010 went up more than 2.2 percent over the previous year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This increase is reflective of the decrease in available funds for stop-smoking programs since 2007.
On Friday, July 22, 2011, a total of 18 positions will be eliminated, and of those 18 positions, 17 will be our union members. There will be a total number of 25, but not all of them will leave the agency on July 22. The reason for the elimination of these county positions is directly related to the state budget that has been rolled out by Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The majority of the employees who will be laid off work directly with the citizens of Athens County. These employee’s help people in Athens County to find jobs, help clients with their child-support matters, assist clients with Social Security disability applications and problems associated with the application, and clients who are either applying for assistance and/or needing to make changes to their existing case.
“We’re going to experience the effects of cuts in this state budget up close and personal, through our kids in their school days and in our neighborhoods and communities – as less cops on the beat, closed firehouses, unplowed streets.”
Children in the classroom will be hit hardest, Patton says, as the $56 billion budget slices nearly $2 billion from education. That likely means increased class sizes, reduced staffing and the elimination of courses, says Barbara Shaner, associate executive director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, adding that the “cuts only” budget approach is hurting education.