Ohio’s prison system costs taxpayers $1.8 billion every year. By reexamining criminal justice issues, policymakers are ensuring that those dollars are spent wisely. Good policy ensures that dangerous criminals are off the streets, while those who have made mistakes and can be safely rehabilitated in the community are placed on the path to become responsible citizens.
In all too many cases occupational licensing is little more than a mandatory permission slip that is imposed by a “Big Brother” like government and does little to ensure real public safety. Many of these burdens make it difficult for lower-income Ohioans to move up the ladder of economic success by getting a job and getting it quickly.
Medicaid spending was exploding well before the misguided expansion in 2013. Despite the happy talk of Medicaid coming in “under budget,” the influx of more than 700,000 able-bodied adults, according to the latest enrollment numbers, has nearly stressed the program to its breaking point. In August 2017, the total spending for Medicaid totaled $2.4 billion. That’s is $354.9 million, or 17.4 percent, more than spending for the same month in the previous fiscal year!
Many local government officials in Ohio are among those from the 238 different cities waiting with baited breath to find out if their bid to secure the new Amazon headquarters has a shot. Indeed, Cincinnati may offer nearly $1 billion in tax breaks while Cleveland, though skittish about disclosing it’s offering, no doubt will pony up big breaks too, as will Columbus. However, something amid all this hype (and hyperventilation) is being lost, which is, most new jobs come from small business (those employing fewer than 50 people).
In March, the Trump administration announced new plans for state flexibility on health care waivers for both Medicaid and state innovation 1332 waivers found in the Affordable Care Act. Recently, states have found this promised flexibility is not becoming a reality for either innovation or Medicaid waivers. If the Trump administration wants to fulfill the promise made earlier this year, then they need to send a strong signal to states that they indeed have a willing partner in Washington.
For the third year in a row Ohio has ranked 45 in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, which ranks all 50 states based on how well they structure their tax system. According to the index, Ohio’s municipal income tax and its commercial activities tax (CAT) have contributed to creating a burdensome tax environment and have continued to weight down Ohio’s rankings.
Next Tuesday, Ohioans will decide whether to enact a policy that would create price controls for pharmaceuticals that are paid for by the state of Ohio. Advocates claim that these price controls can save the state of Ohio money. Opponents argue that these savings are dubious and price controls will create a host of other problems.
The FBI recently released national crime data for 2016. Following the national figures, Ohio’s violent crime ticked up by 2.8 percent and property crime decreased slightly. While any increase in crime raises some concerns, it’s important to look at the data in historical context. Despite the up-tick, violent crime in Ohio is down almost 14 percent since 2008 and an astounding 31 percent from 1997. Likewise, property crime is down 29 percent from just a decade ago.
Last Tuesday saw a win for affordable electricity in the state of Ohio and for the rights of states with the repeal the Clean Power Plan. While many will decry this decision destroying the environment, smart policy and common sense tell us otherwise. There are better ways to protect the environment and Americans’ health without circumventing the constitution.
The expansion of Medicaid, to largely able-bodied adults, has clearly cost vastly more than what state leaders initially envisioned. As Medicaid spending, the Pac-Man of the state budget, continues consuming state resources, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R- WI) is demanding answers from the Kasich Administration on why the costs of Medicaid have blown up!