Trump March Brings Out Counterprotest, And Advocates For Lowest Income Ohioans Raise Questions About Budget

President Donald Trump has been in office for just over two months. And while there have been protests against his policies, there have also been planned events supporting what he’s been doing.  Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles went to dueling demonstrations where both groups came armed with individual passion and firepower.

More 2018 campaign news this week – Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo launched his campaign for state treasurer. The battle against the state’s deadly opioid epidemic is potentially getting two new weapons - a bill to crack down on how many painkillers doctors can prescribe in a three-month period, and a rule change limiting doctors to prescribing painkillers for just seven days – five days for minors. Gov. John Kasich said he talked to members of Congress about bipartisan action on health care reform to protect the people who depend on health care, especially those in Medicaid expansion who have mental illnesses, drug addiction and chronic diseases.

Kasich’s budget would make big changes in a little-known program called the Children with Medical Handicaps, which helps 40,000 kids and their families pay for the enormous non-covered costs of lifelong, chronic and expensive conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, severe asthma and cancer. That brought some of those parents to the Statehouse to plead with a House committee to keep the program as it is, including Rev. David Hoffman of Marion County and Randi Clites of Ravenna. Medicaid director Barbara Sears also talked the potential move of this program to her agency.  The committee has said it would recommend pulling this proposal from the House version of Kasich’s budget, which is set to come out by the end of the month.

As it stands now, the budget includes a 17% income tax cut, which is paid for by increased taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, alcohol and oil and natural gas drilling, and through both an increase in the sales tax by .5% - which is a 9% jump – and a broadening of that tax to services like cable TV. The progressive leaning think tank Policy Matters Ohio has said it’ll mean more costs for the bottom 20%. And that lowest quintile – a group that brings home less than $21,000 a year – is the one represented by the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, which recently put out its annual State of Poverty report. Phil Cole is the executive director of OACAA.

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