CDF Letter to Conference Committee Members: Let’s bring it home for Ohio’s children!
June 17, 2021
This week, six members of the legislature representing both parties in the Ohio House and Senate will meet with the Governor’s Office to hash out their differences in their three versions of the biennial budget. The budget, which represents over $75B in public investments for a whole host of services and programs for Ohioans, is a moral document that articulates our priorities and what we believe in as a state. There will no doubt be much discussion and debate on the best way forward for Ohio in terms of economic recovery, health, education, etc. and how our state can leverage its many resources, talents, policy decisions, etc. to chart that path to a better future for all Ohioans. CDF-Ohio and our partners also have a perspective on this and we shared this with our representatives last Friday in a letter where we outlined our concerns and recommendations. Below is an excerpt of that letter and it can also be downloaded here.
While children make up 22% of Ohio’s population, they represent 100% of Ohio’s future. The budget is a moral document that reflects our priorities as a state – we must do right by Ohio’s children.
As a member of the Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition, a statewide coalition comprised of over 25 organizations committed to the health and well-being of children, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio works to advocate for a fair and just children’s agenda that addresses the needs of the “whole child”. We urge you to prioritize our children by protecting and investing in essential programs that promote child well-being. To this end, we ask that you consider the following as you finalize a budget for Ohio.
In Critical Broadband Infrastructure, all Ohioans must have access to reliable and affordable broadband internet. Over 1 million Ohioans have little to no access to the internet and even more lack access to devices for access and lack the resources to pay for internet subscriptions. The pandemic has revealed the weakness of our infrastructure that must be addressed. We support the House’s version of the budget that critically invests $190 million in broadband expansion and allows for local governments to serve Ohioans where private service providers have failed to build out broadband services.
In Infant and Maternal Health, Ohio can and must do better by our mothers and children. We must maintain the Senate’s vital investment in 12-month postpartum coverage for new moms. However, it is critical that the language included in the House and Executive budget supporting comprehensive home visiting services to more children up to five years in age and their families be restored.