Earlier this month, Ohioans from all walks of life gathered outside the Statehouse because we’ve had enough of what’s going on inside.
Inside, extremist and irresponsible lawmakers pushed policies that would target transgender children, muzzle teachers and determine when and how to start a family. Meanwhile, some of those same lawmakers are trying to funnel more of our public resources into wealthy corporations that drive down our wages and fight even the most basic worker protections.
Outside, a coalition that includes Policy Matters Ohio, Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC), Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, and Freedom BLOC (Black Led Organizing Collaborative) launched the Everything for the Ohio Diary. We called for a new vision for our state – one that values abundance over scarcity, healing over punishment, and solidarity over division.
We created the agenda because we want what most Ohioans want: safe, healthy, and beautiful communities where everyone can live with respect and dignity, regardless of race, gender, zip code or income level. The program is based on six policy pillars focused on income, education, suffrage, economic dignity, community safety and community health.
Our political solutions are practical and possible. Many could be immediately funded by the recent influx of federal dollars and bolstered by more balanced tax policy, including restoring the top tax rate to what it was under Republican Gov. George Voinovic and removing some special interest tax breaks that benefit the wealthy and corporations. Since 2005, state legislators have drained about $8 billion from Ohio communities a year to provide tax cuts and tax breaks to the wealthiest Ohioans and wealthiest corporations. As a result, the wealthiest 1% of Ohio households — those with an average annual income of nearly $1.5 million — received an average annual tax cut of nearly $51,000. . Our agenda simply asks those who do well in Ohio to do well in Ohio.
A handful of corporate-backed extremists want to divide us by race, gender and geography so we can’t band together and demand that the rich pay what they really owe. They want to undermine our faith in one of the most important assets government provides: public education. These same extremists are also afraid of losing power as the nation changes, so they want to stop teachers from talking about race or even saying the word “gay”.
Public schools serve as anchors for communities and the center of family life. That’s why our program puts so much emphasis on education. Some of the same people who attack teachers and students want to take our public dollars from our schools and give them to the wealthy and corporations. In the latest state budget, the All in For Ohio coalition pushed lawmakers to finally fix how they fund K-12 education by passing the Fair School Funding Plan. As we prepare the 2023-2024 state budget, we call on lawmakers to make the plan permanent. Otherwise, we will revert to a system that prioritizes wealthier, whiter neighborhoods and discards neighborhoods where residents tend to have lower incomes. The old system did not serve both rural and urban communities, and particularly hurt black and brown students. We cannot afford to go back.
Our program recognizes that when we live in safe communities with clean air and water and have jobs that pay fair wages and provide good benefits, we are better able to take care of ourselves. and our families. For too long, some politicians have stacked the game against ordinary Ohioans. We demand policies that ensure that all Ohioans have enough food on the table and can get the health care they need. We are pushing lawmakers to increase funding for child care so that more parents can work knowing their children are safe and that child care centers pay caregivers a salary that recognizes the essential work they do. Our program will help workers share in the prosperity they create by raising the minimum wage. We can make our communities safer by adopting a caring response for people in crisis and community programs that focus on healing, instead of relying primarily on punishment and aggressive law enforcement. And our agenda will get to the root of racial disparities in life expectancy, infant mortality and maternal mortality by recognizing racism as a public health crisis.
Right now, some powerful Ohio policymakers don’t buy into our vision and don’t seem to appreciate the voice of their own constituents. They have flagrantly defied the will of the people by refusing to pass fair legislative maps, ignored calls to end attacks on health care and schools, and continue to propose divisive legislation. The All in for Ohio agenda will protect our right to speak out in peaceful protest. It will be easier for all Ohioans, no matter where we live or what we look like, to raise our voices while voting. Our program has real people behind it. All in For Ohio’s organizing partner, the OOC, is registering 50,000 people to vote this year. We know we can’t just wait for some politicians to do the right thing. Our program points the way to the bright future we can create together. Now we must come together and build the power we need to make this a reality.
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