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One hundred days . . .

Advocate:

Yesterday, Governor John Kasich released his executive budget, and we at Advocates for Ohio's Future issued our initial response. You can read our news release here, or see below for a snapshot.

In a nutshell, the Governor's budget preserves much of Ohio's safety net, and we applaud reforms that Advocates for Ohio's Future has supported for years. But other health, human service, and early care & education programs are in jeopardy, and we will use the next hundred days to keep you informed about the budget's progress in the legislature and work with you to influence policy makers.

To learn more about the budget and its impact on vital public services, we invite you to join a webinar on Tuesday, March 22, 10-11 a.m. Click here to register. You will hear reactions to the budget from lead advocates from the Center for Community Solutions, the Ohio groundWork Campaign, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, and Advocates for Ohio’s Future. You’ll find out how vital public services that help vulnerable populations across the state have been reformed, preserved, or cut in the proposed budget. You will also learn what lawmakers and Advocates for Ohio’s Future need from you, as an advocate in the field, over the next hundred days.

Scheduled to speak on the webinar call are:

  • Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, Co-Chair of Advocates for Ohio’s Future, Senior Policy Associate for Voices for Ohio’s Children, and Director of Policy and Government Affairs at Public Children Services Association of Ohio;
  • David Howard, Field Director for the Ohio groundWork Campaign;
  • Jon Honeck, Ph.D., Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Center for Community Solutions; and
  • Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks.

By the time the webinar rolls around, we expect to know more about the budget and its implications. Here is what we know now about health, human service, and early care & education programs in the budget, as described in our news release:

Services Preserved or Improved in the Governor's Budget

  • Medicaid services such as vision and dental have been preserved;
  • Focus on prenatal care to reduce incidence of low-birth-weight babies;
  • PASSPORT and Home Choice to be expanded, with more seniors and people with disabilities shifted from costly nursing home care to home- and community-based care; and
  • Ohio Housing Trust Fund, emergency food service, and key youth services programs to remain funded.

Services in Jeopardy in the Governor's Budget

  • Funding for community-based health centers eliminated;
  • Child welfare and adoption services cut, including elimination of Kinship Permanency Incentive Program; and
  • Cuts in mental health, addiction services, developmental disabilities, and local government fund continue to be reviewed.

You can learn more about the specifics of these changes by reading our coalition partner agencies' responses to the budget.

While not exhaustive, this list gives you an idea of how critical the next hundred days will be if we are to preserve vital services for vulnerable Ohioans. Register for our webinar, and stay tuned for further analysis, action alerts, and other opportunities to get involved in this debate.

Will Petrik
Outreach Director

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