When the state budget was completed in 2011, the $1.8 billion in cuts to education and $1 billion in cuts to local government were the two biggest stories for the two year budget. So, a lot of people have been asking: are there more levies coming? When state funding cuts take place, one of two things usually happens – services go down or local taxes go up.
The August special election may be one indication that the cuts are seriously catching up to communities. If a levy is a last ditch effort to ensure stability, then at least 35 communities are up against it – and they felt the need to rush to a special election where turnout is typically very low.
So just to be clear: Schools have to ask for increased property taxes as a result of state income taxes and corporate taxes dropping. Those property taxes affect working class and middle income families the most, while the income and corporate tax cuts greatly benefit the wealthiest Ohioans and most profitable companies. This is a bad trade for the vast majority of Ohioans, but it puts regular people who want great public services like schools in a tough spot.
Hopefully, people in local communities around the state will pitch in to support local schools and also help spread the word that 1) we can’t keep cutting at the state level and 2) big corporations and rich Ohioans need to pay their fair share. We should be aiming for great public schools with top notch resources for our kids – not schools that are barely making it while wealthy individuals and big corporations are doing better than ever.