Ohio earns A in health care, D in housing on national report card
Monday, Sep. 28, 2009
Last week, Policy Matters Ohio and the Corporation for Enterprise Development released a comprehensive state-by-state assessment of family financial security, giving Ohio a "C" average on its policies supporting struggling families.
The 2009-2010 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard rates states in six areas:
- Financial assets and income;
- Business and jobs;
- Housing and homeownership;
- Health care;
- Education; and
- Community investment and accountability policies.
The scorecard ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 92 outcome and policy measures related to wealth, poverty, and financial security of families, and gives grades on a curve with the 50 states divided evenly so that 10 earn each grade of A through F.
According to this latest report, the United States as a whole does a poor job of relieving poverty, reducing debt, and ensuring health insurance and retirement.
"The findings in the 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard give credence to the claim that in the years leading up to the financial crisis, the façade of financial prosperity was indeed built on a foundation of sand,” according to the report. “Even as leading indicators such as net worth were still on the rise and seemingly telling a story of increasing prosperity, there was compelling evidence that Americans—especially low- and moderate-income individuals and families—were becoming more financially overextended and vulnerable."
Ohio earned an overall grade "C" for its policies and outcomes to support financial security for families. The following are the ratings for Ohio in the issue areas:
- Financial assets and income: C
- Business and jobs: D
- Housing and homeownership: D
- Health care: A
- Education: C
In addition, the report found the following in Ohio:
- Community investment and accountability policies:
- State support for community development financial institutions? No
- Tax expenditure transparency: Biennial report online; covers major taxes
- Impact analysis of tax law changes? Yes, multiple models
- Community investment for state-chartered banks? No
The report includes the following recommendations for Ohio:
Protect Homeowners and Stabilize Communities
To address soaring foreclosure rates and protect consumers from financial services that deplete wealth, Ohio should enact stronger consumer protection laws regulating mortgage services, payday lenders, rent-to-own stores, and paid tax preparation stores.
Promote Financial Security
To address high bankruptcy and asset poverty rates and to help residents build assets, Ohio should implement a state Earned Income Tax Credit and make the Dependent Care Credit refundable, to supplement the earnings of low-income workers.
Support Early Childhood Education
To reduce the burden on family budgets from paying for decent child care, and to ensure all children have access to high-quality education from a young age, Ohio should devote sufficient funds toward developing a high-quality, and universally available, pre-K program.
According to a press release from Policy Matters Ohio, Ohio policy makers should target the following policy changes to improve the well-being of Ohio's families:
- Adopt a refundable earned income tax credit, make it available to families who have children and earn less than $45,000.
- Make Ohio's dependent care tax credit refundable.
- Provide universal, high-quality early childhood care and education. Until that is in place, immediately restore access to quality child care for low-income families at 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Force short-term lenders to comply with the payday lending law passed by the legislature and affirmed by the voters, but currently being circumvented.
- Broaden eligibility for unemployment benefits to cover part-time workers, and extend unemployment benefits for 26 weeks to those who participate in approved training programs.