New Study Predicts 51,000 Layoffs Due to Kasich’s ‘Jobs Budget’
According to a recent study, House Bill 153 (HB 153), Gov. John Kasich’s proposed “Jobs Budget,” will force reductions of more than 51,000 Ohio jobs.
The study, released by progressive think tank Innovation Ohio, is the first to project total job losses due to education cuts in grades K-12 and higher education, state personnel and local governments.
Kasich has said that the budget “allows Ohioans to take an important step forward together toward regaining our footing, getting our state back on track and creating the job-friendly environment necessary to get folks working again.”
Over 22,000 jobs have been created since Kasich took office, but the projected job losses will more than double that number. The study assumes that neither local governments nor local school districts will raise taxes. Kasich has urged both not to raise taxes despite the cuts.
Innovation Ohio Communications Director, Dale Butland, believes that local governments and school districts will only be able to cut so much.
“They’ve already made the easy cuts and pared their budgets dramatically. So when the governor proposes to cut school funding by $3 billion and local government funding by 50 percent, firing workers or raising local taxes are the only realistic choices they have left,” he said.
According to the study, some school districts have already begun layoffs.
Princeton City Schools have announced they will cut 111 jobs, including 70 teachers. Delaware City Schools have announced 14 job cuts and declared intentions to ask voters for an $8.5 million property tax increase, while also eliminating both German and Latin foreign language classes altogether.
Schools aren’t the only public institutions announcing cutbacks. The Ohio Department of Taxation has already announced that they will cut 99 jobs and the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections will cut 171 jobs.
The report released in conjunction with the study described the cuts as “draconian” and the budget as “counterproductive.”
“In short, the Kasich ‘Job Budgets’ will reverse the job growth that Ohio has experienced, potentially take Ohio back to June 2010 levels of unemployment and jeopardize the state’s still-fragile economic recovery,” the study said.
K-12 education will face the largest cuts, the study said, resulting in 25,000 projected job losses. Higher education receives a softer blow, losing just over 2,000. Local government will have to cut roughly 17,000 jobs, and state personnel will be reduced by nearly 5,800.
Ohio Democrats, including Ohio Democrats Communications Director Seth Bringman, are upset with the budget. Bringman believes that Kasich is pandering to the wealthy, and killing the middle class.
“John Kasich is trying to balance our state budget on the backs of middle class Ohioans,” he said. “He gives tax cuts to his wealthy friends and campaign donors while cutting $3 billion from education. He gives massive pay increases to his top aides while killing middle class jobs.”
Bringman also believes that Kasich is passing off the state government’s problem on by forcing local governments to shoulder the load.
“He also passes the buck by trying to solve his budget problem in Columbus by creating budget crises in communities throughout Ohio,” he said. “His decision to cut funding for local governments by 50 percent will force local officials to either cut services like police and fire departments or impose massive tax hikes. Given his misplaced priorities, it’s no wonder that only 30 percent of Ohioans approve of the job he’s doing.”
The Kasich administration has not yet formally responded to the study.
Andrew Zucker contributed reporting.