Posts Tagged 'State Rep. Matt Szollosi'

House Dems Show Support for Workers’ Rights

Ohio House Democrats stood in solidarity with their Michigan colleagues and friends by wearing red carnations to House session today. Ohio workers faced similar unsafe and unfair attacks on their right to collectively bargain, in Senate Bill 5, which was put to a voter referendum and passed with nearly 62 percent of the vote. State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Matt Szollosi (D- Toledo) released the following statement in support of Michigan workers’ right to collectively bargain.

“Today and everyday we support our brothers and sisters in Michigan and across the nation whose rights are under attack. The ability to collectively bargain for safe working conditions and a decent wage is what has allowed America to build a strong middle class. Right to work is wrong, and we will continue to fight against these anti-working family policies,” said Rep. Fedor.

“We proudly stand with workers, union and non-union, who are under attack today in Michigan. In their zeal to exact political vengeance against labor unions, Michigan’s Republican legislators have lost sight of right and wrong. The right to work legislation will drive down wages for working families, and open the floodgates for out of state workers. It is a shame,” Rep. Szollosi added.

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Budish, Szollosi Push for Congressional Action as Trade Deficit Grows

House Minority Leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) and Assistant Minority Leader Matt Szollosi (D-Oregon) circulated a letter to all Ohio House members yesterday seeking bipartisan support to urge congressional action on the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act. The letter comes on the heels of news that the U.S trade deficit to China grew by 7.2 percent in July.

“The deficit continues to grow and middle class Ohioans are struggling because jobs have been shipped overseas. Congress should take action and pass the Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act,” said Minority Leader Armond Budish.  “This legislation will take real meaningful steps at putting our economy back on track and preventing the trade deficit from continuing to grow.”

This legislation by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and joined by Senator Rob Portman received bipartisan support in the Senate but has not been brought to the floor for a vote in the U.S. House. This legislation would strengthen the United States’ oversight of currency exchange rates and provide tough new trade laws to hold accountable countries that manipulate their currency rates to gain an unfair foreign trade advantage. China’s currency manipulation makes it difficult to reduce the U.S. – China trade deficit, which damages our economic competiveness and harms Ohio workers.

“Reports show that China’s currency manipulation has cost Ohio 95,500 jobs since 2001, and more than 2.7 million jobs nationwide, most of which were manufacturing jobs. It is simply unacceptable for Congress to stand by and do nothing,” said Assistant Minority Leader Matt Szollosi.

A copy of the letter can be seen below:

September 14, 2012

Speaker John Boehner
Office of the Speaker
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner:

We are writing to urge you to allow a vote on bipartisan legislation to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation.  The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act passed the Senate in October 2011 with strong bipartisan support, including from both Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman.  This legislation would create and protect jobs in Ohio and throughout the nation.

In 2011, the U.S.-China trade deficit expanded to more than $295 billion, the highest bilateral trade deficit on record.  While Ohio exports of machinery, aerospace products, and soybeans to China have increased, these exports are still dwarfed by a deluge of Chinese imports. This problem requires action as currency manipulation undermines our economic competitiveness.  The United States, to no avail, has been pressing China to allow the renminbi to appreciate to its market-based value.

The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act is pragmatic legislation – consistent with our international trade commitments – that seeks to reform and enhance oversight of currency exchange rates.  Specifically, the legislation would trigger tough consequences for countries that fail to stop manipulating their currency, and it would ensure U.S. trade laws may be used to counter the economic harm that currency manipulation has inflicted upon U.S. workers, farmers, and manufacturers. As you know, several Ohio industries – from paper, to glass, to aluminum, to steel – use these trade laws to defend against unfair trade. This legislation would provide another valuable tool in the effort to combat these destructive practices.

Even though the China currency legislation passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate nearly one year ago, the House of Representatives has refused to even bring this bill to the floor for a vote. President Obama should continue pressing this issue with Chinese officials, which is why the Ohio House passed a unanimous resolution on this issue this summer.

Yet it is Congress’ responsibility to provide our nation with the tools needed to fight back against unfair trade practices like currency manipulation.  Our workers and businesses deserve action when it comes to dealing with China’s unfair trade practices.

We urge you to move forward with this legislation and stand ready to support you.

Respectfully,

Armond Budish
Ohio House Minority Leader
8th District

Matthew A. Szollosi
Assistant Minority Leader
49th District

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Rep. Szollosi Receives Legislator of the Year Award from FOP of Ohio

The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio presented State Representative Matthew A. Szollosi with the Ohio House of Representatives Legislator of the Year award today.  The award was presented to Rep. Szollosi at the 78th Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

“I am proud to stand with our safety forces because they put themselves in harm’s way everyday to keep us safe. Decisions to close stations and reduce staffing levels concern me, especially when statistics show crime is on the rise. We should be giving our safety forces the tools they need to do their jobs safely, so they can go home to their families after each and every shift.”

Rep. Szollosi was recognized for his leadership statewide last year in the fight against Senate Bill 5 which would have gutted Ohio’s collective bargaining law. Rep. Szollosi fought to ensure that Ohio’s safety forces maintained their ability to negotiate fairly for proper staffing levels, necessary safety equipment and job security. “Senate Bill 5, had it remained law, would have been terrible for workers,” said Szollosi. “The Fraternal Order of Police did a great job educating the public about the true intent of the bill.”

Senate Bill 5 was overturned by citizen referendum last November by 61 percent.

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House Democrats Outline 2012 Priorities to Strengthen Middle Class

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish and members of the House Democratic Caucus at a press conference announcing their legislative agenda for 2012. They will focus on jobs, communities, rights and opportunities to help Ohioans restore the American Dream.

Ohio House Democrats announced the beginning of their legislative agenda for 2012 to strengthen working and middle class families.  The priorities build upon the Compact with the Middle Class announced last year and focus specifically on four categories – jobs, communities, rights and opportunities.

“While Statehouse Republicans continue their overreaching partisan priorities, House Democrats are committed to common-sense solutions that put working and middle class families first,” said House Minority Leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood).  “We will place a renewed focus this year on creating jobs, rebuilding Ohio communities, protecting the rights of Ohioans and improving education and workforce training opportunities.”

The legislative initiatives are a mix of new proposals and several bills that have already been introduced by House Democrats. The new bills include a Local Government Jobs Fund, a Community Foreclosure Protection Fund, a Voter’s Bill of Rights and the Ohioans Back to Work Program.  House Democrats will be introducing additional legislation in the coming weeks focused on putting working and middle class families first. 

“For the last year, Statehouse Republicans have been turning over state assets to private companies and giving away state tax dollars to special interest friends,” said Minority Whip Tracy Heard.  “Instead of leaving behind working families and hurting local communities, our priorities will help Ohioans restore the American Dream. 

Creating jobs continues to be a top priority for House Democrats.  The Community Jobs Protection Fund will help communities return cops and firefighters to the streets by dedicating every new dollar of state revenue back to local communities.  House Democrats have also developed the JobsOhio Accountability Act to ensure oversight and accountability of taxpayer dollars going to companies seeking state support. 

“Rather than balancing the budget on the backs of local communities and taking away workers’ rights, women’s rights and voters’ rights, our priorities will restore some balance in Ohio between Republican special interests and middle class families,” said Assistant Minority Leader Matt Szollosi (D-Oregon). 

Additionally, House Democrats have also proposed a new Ohio Voter’s Bill of Rights, improvements to help workers and new protections for healthcare patients against rate increases and claim denials. Greater protections for education funding are addressed through increased accountability measures and a new workforce training program has also been proposed.

“These priorities represent a continuation of our efforts to stand up for working and middle class families throughout Ohio,” said State Rep. Debbie Phillips. 

An outline of the House Democratic priorities is listed below.  Additional bills focused on jobs, communities, rights and opportunities will be introduced in the coming weeks.

MUST READS: House Dems Forge Redistricting Compromise

Newspapers around the state reacted to the redistricting compromise agreed to by House Democrats yesterday. Common themes included relief at the end of a “long, messy process” (Columbus Dispatch) marred by “political wrangling and voter confusion” (Toledo Blade).

“The pact… consolidates what would have been two primaries into one on March 6. Holding one primary will save taxpayers an estimated $15 million” notes Aaron Marshall of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

On a local level, several constituencies saw improvements over the previous redistricting map. “The city of Toledo will be represented by two members of the U.S. House instead of three,” says the Blade, while the Dayton Daily News observes that “A major change in the new map from one passed in September was putting all of Montgomery County in one congressional district.”

Read the full articles:

 “State will have one primary March 6,” Columbus Dispatch

Redrawn map puts Toledo in 2 districts instead of 3,” Toledo Blade

Ohio lawmakers reach deal on congressional redistricting and single primary election,” Cleveland Plain Dealer

State, with 16 new U.S. House districts, will have 1 primary next year,” Dayton Daily News

See also articles here and here.

House Dems Stop GOP from Wasting Millions on Two Primaries and End Redistricting Standoff

Assistant Minority Leader Matthew A. Szollosi (D-49-Toledo)

Ohio House Assistant Minority Leader Matthew A. Szollosi released the following statement on the compromise to reunite the primaries and end the redistricting standoff.  The compromised redistricting plan makes some improvements to congressional districts, takes the first steps towards necessary long-term reform and saves taxpayers from footing a more than $15 million bill for two primaries.

“This fight has been about giving Ohioans a voice in the redistricting process and force a meaningful debate. We have seen this year just how badly this process is in need of change and are pleased that part of the agreement will include the first steps towards a meaningful bi-partisan reform.

“Creating two primaries was fiscally irresponsible and would have cost the state millions in precious funds at a time when funding to education, police and fire, and local government is being slashed.  By reuniting the primaries, Democrats have prevented voter confusion, likely legal chaos and saved the state more than $15 million in taxpayer dollars.”

Gov. Kasich’s “Toll road for lease” plan hits bump in the road

The Kasich administration has been moving full speed ahead in privatizing state assets and the most recent target is the Ohio Turnpike, the 241 mile toll road that runs the entire length of the northern end of the state.  The Governor’s attempt at selling the state to private corporations has received no shortage of criticism across the state from lawmakers, citizens and editorial boards.  

Last week, Gov. Kasich’s plan hit a new speed bump.  The Governor had planned to use federal funding in part of his plan to privatize the Turnpike.  However, Ohio’s Democratic congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood challenging Kasich’s authority to utilize federal resources to advance his privatization agenda.  After review Secretary LaHood determined that federal resources may not be used for such purposes.

State Representatives along the Turnpike applauded Secretary LaHood’s decision and the work of Ohio’s Democratic congressional delegation.  Ohio House Assistant Minority Leader Matthew A. Szollosi of Toledo said, “The Ohio Turnpike belongs to the people of the State of Ohio, and that should not change simply because Gov. Kasich wants a one-time infusion of cash for use by his administration.   Based on what has happened in Indiana, motorists can expect a significant increase in tolls, maintenance of the turnpike will deteriorate, and toll workers can expect pink-slips.  Privatization of the Ohio Turnpike is a bad idea.”

State Rep. Teresa Fedor also from Toledo had this to say about the Governor’s plan, “Governor Kasich’s scheme to privatize the Turnpike has cost Ohio millions in revoked funds.  Federal Transportation officials said the Kasich administration misused the funds in a reckless effort to privatize the Ohio Turnpike.  If Gov. Kasich succeeds tolls will rise, and traveling commuters, truckers and others who use the Turnpike will essentially pay an un-voted tax increase.  Those who stand to benefit the most are the investment bankers who could make a killing off this scheme.  Gov. Kasich needs to quit putting Wall Street bankers ahead of Ohio voters.”

Then over the weekend the Toledo Blade published another editorial criticizing Gov. Kasich’s privatization of the state.  Excerpts of the editorial follow:

“The rush to cash in on leasing the Ohio Turnpike hit a bump in the road last week. It won’t stop Gov. John Kasich’s administration, but it does keep the issue in the public eye and make it less likely that Ohioans will wake up one morning to find that they no longer control the toll road they paid for.

“Mr. Kasich has made no secret of his desire to privatize the turnpike, along with liquor profits, prisons, and other state assets…

“…In the long run, leasing money-making enterprises will cost the state billions of dollars in revenue that will need to be replaced. In the case of the turnpike, many Ohioans also are concerned that tolls will rise, as many as 1,000 jobs will be lost, and turnpike maintenance will suffer. If that happens, more traffic — especially big trucks — will use parallel secondary roads, increasing maintenance costs and making those roads less safe.

“Last week, several Democratic members of Ohio’s congressional delegation who oppose the turnpike lease plan questioned the use of federal highway funds to explore lease opportunities…

The [Kasich] administration’s initial request said vaguely that a federal grant would be used to study how leasing assets works in other states, without mentioning the Ohio Turnpike at all. It deserved to be turned down as a ham-handed attempt to game the system.

“If the governor continues to believe leasing the turnpike is a good idea, let him come up with a transparent source of funding to study the issue — although preferably not by putting his hands in the pockets of local governments again. Commission a full, nonpartisan examination at least as comprehensive as a preliminary study released last March by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which concluded that leasing the turnpike had little benefit and a lot of “likely negative outcomes.”

…”

Read the full editorial here.


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