***For Immediate Release ***
July 1, 2021
Katherine Ungar Tracy Nájera
Policy Associate Executive Director
Ohio Takes Strides Forward with School Funding Overhaul, Extended Postpartum Coverage,
Broadband Infrastructure in State Budget
However, $1.2 billion tax cut threatens fiscal health and long-term recovery for all Ohioans
COLUMBUS — Today, Governor DeWine signed into law Ohio’s 2022-2023 $74 billion biennial budget which makes critical investments for Ohio’s children and families, but also reveals blind adherence to policies that have consistently failed Ohioans. We believe the future of Ohio’s children rests, in large part, on the decisions that Ohio’s adults make on their behalf. That is why Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, a member of the Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition, advocated for the holistic needs of children in Ohio’s state policy decisions throughout the budget process.
CDF-Ohio commends the Legislature and DeWine Administration for protecting, maintaining, and increasing investments for Ohio children and their families in the following areas:
• School Funding Overhaul: Inclusion of the phased-in Fair School Funding Plan to achieve
greater equity in how we fully and fairly fund our state’s schools
• Infant and Maternal Health: Extension of 12-month postpartum Medicaid coverage for
new parents to protect their health and that of their newborns
• Internet Connectivity: Expansion of Broadband Infrastructure support, including,
specific funding for telehealth to support behavioral health for children
• Access to Quality Child Care: Expanded income eligibility for publicly funded childcare
access to 142% of the federal poverty line and preservation, in part, of the Step Up to
• Youth Justice Programs: Investments in community-based alternatives to child
incarceration, such as RECLAIM, and investments in behavioral health
• Housing Security: Sustained affordable housing access for low-income families
• Public Benefit Access: Elimination of proposed barriers (asset tests and change
reporting) to access benefits, such as SNAP and Medicaid• Services for Multi-System Youth: support families with children who have complex
needs across systems through protection of the OhioRISE program
• Early Childhood Home Visiting: Investment in evidence-based home visiting for families
that expands eligibility to children from up to three to up to five years of age.
Though much has been accomplished, this budget earns a grade of “incomplete.”
The notable exclusion of the Student Wellness and Success Funds as a separate fund to meet
behavioral health needs of students is a missed opportunity to support children – especially
after this past year. Though these funds will be rolled into the Fair School Funding formula to
fund the phase in, it should have been funded separately. The state of Ohio has the resources
to do both. Further, additional work is needed to support foster youth rights and their safety
and infant and maternal health through the support of doula services through pregnancy,
delivery, and post-partum care.
Unfortunately, the biennial budget also includes a misguided commitment to over a billion
dollars in income tax cuts for Ohio’s wealthiest. This action will only widen income disparities
and starve programs children and families need to thrive. These tax gimmicks threaten the
fiscal health of our state by prioritizing the needs of Ohio’s wealthiest while ignoring Ohioans
who are struggling financially. Many Ohioans suffered catastrophic economic hardships through
sudden job loss and the loss of childcare during this pandemic. These losses had significant
ripple effects in our communities where we witnessed miles long lines at food pantries and
similar signs of economic distress.
Notably, those making less than $107,000 a year on average will get a tax cut of just $43.00 a
year. In contrast, the wealthiest Ohioans will get an average $5,400 tax break per year, despite
having shouldered the least burden of the pandemic and subsequent economic recession.
However, there is a solid foundation in this budget for us to build upon. “We are pleased with
the people and community-centered strides forward in this budget process and we look
forward to working with the DeWine Administration and our policymakers in the Ohio
Legislature to build on this progress and meet the needs of Ohio’s most vulnerable children and
families,” says Tracy Nájera, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund.
About Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio
The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a
Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.