Wednesday, November 30, 2005


What’s The Only Thing Growing Faster Than Poverty in Ohio?

Answer: Ohio’s cumulative balance of unspent TANF funds.

The most recent issue of Budget Footnotes, published by the well respected Ohio Legislative Services Commission, reports that Ohio’s TANF reserve has continued to climb from this same time last year. At the end of federal fiscal year 2004, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported a record $836 million in cumulative unspent TANF funds. The balance climbed even higher by the end of federal fiscal year 2005 (September 30, 2005) – Ohio’s cumulative balance of unspent TANF funds is now $914 million, a $78 million increase from a year ago. The U.S. Census reported earlier this year that Ohio was one of only seven states in which the poverty rate increased between 2003 and 2004. The combination of unspent funds and rising need has led Ohio House of Representatives member Jimmy Stewart to introduce Ohio House Bill 372 to increase the cash assistance grant by $100. It’s a measure that’s long overdue.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Congress Serves A Budget Turkey

Recently the federal government revealed that one in 10 Ohio households couldn't afford sufficient food at some point during the year. That's a 25 percent increase since an earlier reporting period of 1999-2001. So how did Congress react to this alarming news? They decided to cut 200,000 Americans off the Food Stamp program - the nation's number one anti-hunger program. Not only that, they also passed cuts in child support, child care, medical care, and student loans that mean that low-wage working families will see their budgets shrink smaller and smaller. Read more about this in an excellent op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch by Lisa Hamler-Fuggitt of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks

Oh, and by the way, at the same time members of Congress passed this budget turkey, they gave themselves a $3,100 pay raise. How's that for shared sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


ODH Cuts Flu Vaccine Distribution

Even as we near the beginning of flu season, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will distribute 30,000 less doses of flu vaccine this flu season than it did last year. This is the result of flat state funding combined with the rising cost of the vaccines which has risen by 335 percent since the 2000-2001 flu season. ODH didn’t request additional funding in their budget request to Governor Bob Taft despite the fact that the cost of the vaccines typically rises ever year. The decreased distribution means that federally qualified health centers will be getting no flu vaccines for their patients and that local health departments will receive approximately 22,000 less vaccines then they requested. State Representative Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) is promoting legislation that would increase funding for flu vaccines. Read more at


California Voters Defeat Spending Cap

California voters overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional spending cap proposal yesterday. This comes on the heels of Colorado voter approval last week of a 5 year suspension of the TABOR spending cap. These rejections spell trouble for a similar proposal in Ohio which would have effect of cutting funding for health care and education. The Ohio proposal is slated for the November, 2006 ballot. For more information about the Ohio TABOR proposal visit or

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