FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2019
Contact: Andrea Magaña Lewis, Paul Werth Associates
firstname.lastname@example.org or 614.224.8114
Child Advocacy Coalition Affirms Support for DeWine Budget Investments
EITC, Census, Childcare Among Remaining Unmet Needs for Children
COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio’s 15 leading child advocacy organizations today joined forces to unveil a unified children’s budget agenda. The advocacy partnership, known as the Ohio Children’s Budget (OCB) coalition, was established last year to create a vision for childhood in Ohio where all children can live, learn, and grow and work together to advocate for the needs of holistic needs of children in Ohio’s state policy and budget decisions.
“Governor DeWine’s inaugural budget is a first major step in the right direction for our children and we recognize his commitment,” said Tracy Nájera, OCB chair and executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. “As we urge the members of the Ohio General Assembly to protect these critical investments, we also ask them to work with us to meet additional needs that are not addressed in this budget.”
In particular, we are encouraged by Gov. DeWine’s proposed budget and its significant investments in children including increases in state aid for county children’s services agencies, evidence-based home visitation programs, child nutrition programs, maintenance of children’s health insurance, funding for economic disadvantaged students, and the list goes on. However, notably absent in the introduced budget are investments in the 2020 Census to prevent the undercount of children, funding for an expanded and refundable earned income tax credit, and expanded eligibility for public child care.
“More than 100,000 Ohio children are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census, which could have a devastating impact on federal funding in the coming decade,” said Keary McCarthy, representing the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance. “Ohio cannot afford to risk an inaccurate or incomplete count,” said Keary McCarthy, Executive Director of the Ohio Mayors Alliance.” Doing so could weaken Ohio’s national influence and cost Ohioans $33 billion in federal funding through critical programs like Medicaid, Head Start and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP).”
We support expanding opportunities to the working family tax credit – Ohio Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) with refundability, increasing to 20 percent of federal credit and removing the income cap. The credit rewards work, reduces tax liability, helps financially vulnerable families, and boosts local economies.
“The EITC has the potential to lift children and their working parents out of poverty, but as it stands the state’s credit only helps 5 percent of the lowest income Ohioans,” said Kalitha Williams, project director of Policy Matters Ohio. “Our policy makers should strengthen the EITC to help our most financially vulnerable children and their families.”
While Gov. DeWine has maintained funding for Ohio’s childcare system, many low-income children remain unqualified to access quality child care and preschool programs. OCB recommends increasing public child care funding and eligibility from 130 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
“Early education is critical to improving school readiness, social emotional development and lifelong health outcomes,” said Lynanne Gutierrez, policy director and legal counsel for Groundwork Ohio. “We can all agree in principle that it’s important to invest in early care and education, now it’s time for the state to prioritize these investments.”
OCB has outlined 12 additional policy priorities that its members will continue to amplify throughout the budget process. To learn more about the OCB and its unprecedented partnership, visit ohiochildrensbudget.org
Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition (OCB) was established in 2018 and is committed to prioritizing the needs of children in Ohio’s state policy and budget decisions. This unprecedented statewide partnership is comprised of fifteen child advocacy organizations, including:
- Advocates for Ohio’s Future
- American Academy of Pediatrics-Ohio Chapter
- Center for Community Solutions
- Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio
- Groundwork Ohio
- Innovation Ohio Education Fund
- Ohio Children’s Alliance
- Ohio Children’s Hunger Alliance
- Ohio Education Association
- Ohio Federation of Teachers
- Ohio Healthy Homes Network
- Ohio Juvenile Justice Coalition
- Policy Matters Ohio
- Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio
- Voice for Ohio’s Children