Happy December Euclid Observer Friends
As I am writing this, our friends in federal government are examining the impeachment process. It reminds me that occasionally, the best thing I can say to explain my work in Columbus is, “We are not DC.” Currently, we are in the 133rd term of the Ohio General Assembly and the interplay of the Ohio House, the Ohio Senate and The Governor has seen more major bipartisan successes in the first 11 months of 2019 than at any time during the prior administration.
Before I tell you some of the successes that I believe benefit all Ohioans, let me briefly explain why these outcomes have occurred. There are 3 reasons: 1. The Governor has been open to ideas from all sides and both Parties. 2. There is a coalition government in the Ohio House. Speaker Larry Householder was elected with 26 Republican and 26 Democratic votes, giving Democrats a 50/50 voice in a Chamber where we only have 38 of 99 seats and 3. Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko and Republican Senate President Larry Oboff have a very good working relationship.
With that as a backstory, let me share 16 Ohio Successes that became a part of the 2020 / 2021 Biennium Budget, which are all Democratic Priorities.
- We established the H2Ohio Fund to fund water quality programs at a total of $85.2 million.
- We increased the Help Me Grow program by 51.5% to $30.3 million in the first fiscal year of the budget (FY 2020) and 29.7% to $39.3 million in FY 2021. This program will increase home visiting services to help reduce infant mortality.
- We codified the Kinship Care Navigator Program and funded it at $8.5 million a year.
- We provided an increase, by 140%, of dollars going to Family and Children Services for programs geared towards at risk youth.
- We allocated an additional $12 million to expand OhioSTART, an intervention program for children who have a parent with a substance abuse issue.
- We doubled the funding for the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force by $500,000 a year.
- We increased the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (the only need-based scholarship program in Ohio) by 21.1% per fiscal year taking its totals to $122 in FY 2020 and $148 million in FY 2021.
- We dedicated $675 million for K-12 wrap-around student services (called Student Success and Wellness Services).
- We eliminated all state income taxes for those earning under $21,750 giving a tax cut to those who need it the most.
- We kept the Ohio Motion Picture Production Tax Credit program.
- Ohio’s 12 food banks got a $5 million dollar increase in state support.
- The legal smoking age was increased to 21.
- The Ohio Housing Trust Fund got its first funding increase in 16 years.
- Most importantly, we kept the Ohio Medicaid Expansion in place.
On the local front, Euclid got two budget wins. The Euclid Shore Cultural Centre received $325,000 for their window replacement project and the City of Euclid received $150,000 to be used towards the demolition of/asbestos removal from the former Euclid YMCA building.
All good news. So remember Euclid Observer readers, “We are not DC.” We actually get some good things accomplished in Columbus. After all – I work for you.
Hey Euclid Observer readers, remember to take our 8th House District Legislative Survey.
The Legislative Survey provides the opportunity for you to share your opinions and concerns as we head into the final 13 months of the 133rd General Assembly. The survey is ten questions and should only take a few minutes to complete. The Survey can be found here => https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KMCXXQZ If for some reason this link gets removed or expires, please contact my Columbus office at 614-466-5441 and we will direct you to the most current online survey link.
Feel free and share the survey with your friends and family. The more responses the better. So, grab a computer, get online and tell me what you are interested in. After all – I work for you.
State Representative Kent Smith represents Ohio’s 8th House District which includes Euclid, South Euclid, Richmond Heights, Beachwood, East Cleveland, Woodmere Village and a little bit of the City of Cleveland.