Posts Tagged 'Leader Budish'

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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Leader Budish Statement on Recommendation to Fire BOE Members Who Supported Weekend Voting

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) released the following statement upon the recommendation by a hearing examiner for Secretary of State Jon Husted that Montgomery County Elections Board members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr. be fired for supporting expanded weekend early voting hours. The two board members came under fire when they refused to support limiting the previously agreed to early voting hours for Montgomery County following a statewide directive by Secretary Husted.

“I urge Secretary Husted to do the right thing and allow these men to continue to serve on the board of elections. Voting is our most fundamental right and Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie are standing up and fighting to protect that right. It is time for Secretary Husted to put partisan politics aside, protect the voting rights of Ohioans, and do what is best for the voters of Montgomery County and the state, and that is to expand early in-person voting hours to weekends.”

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Leader Budish and Rep. Williams Statement on Secretary Husted’s Decision to Cancel Early Voting on Weekends

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D- Beachwood) and State Rep. Sandra Williams (D- Cleveland) released the following joint statement in response to Secretary Husted’s press conference announcing he will issue a directive canceling early voting during weekend hours. At least 21 counties have weekend early voting hours that will be cancelled, while nearly every urban county has also been denied extended early voting hours in tie-breaking decisions cast by Secretary Husted.

“Voting is one of the most basic rights of our democracy, yet sadly this right has been under constant attack by Republicans out for partisan gain.  In prior elections, thousands of Ohioans have taken advantage of early voting hours and Secretary Husted’s directive works against hardworking Ohioans who have difficulty taking time off from their jobs, making it harder for them to exercise their right to vote.  We are disappointed in the Secretary’s decision to carry out deceptive tactics being used across the nation to disenfranchise minorities, senior citizens, students, and lower income voters in this crucial election year.

“We encourage all of those who may have difficulty getting out to vote without these crucial weekend hours to vote absentee, and ensure their voice is heard.”

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Legislative Leaders Call for Neutrality During Petition Verification

Senate Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney and House Minority Leader Armond Budish sent the following letter to Secretary of State Jon Husted today urging him to remain neutral on the Voters First redistricting reform ballot issue while his office verifies the organization’s petitions. 

July 31, 2012

The Honorable Jon Husted
Ohio Secretary of State
180 E. Broad St., 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215 

Secretary Husted:

We are writing to express our deep concern about comments you made regarding the Voters First initiative petition, which is currently under review by the Secretary of State’s office for placement on the November ballot.  In the Plain Dealer (July 1, 2012) and on subsequent occasions you stated publicly that you do not believe it is the solution for Ohio’s deeply flawed process for drawing congressional and legislative districts.

As the statewide officer charged with ensuring our elections are fair and unbiased, we believe it is highly inappropriate and irresponsible for you to comment on the merits of this, or any initiative or referendum, while your office is verifying signatures. We believe your neutrality is absolutely necessary given the fact you just participated in the redistricting process that would be replaced by this ballot issue. If the certification of the petition is denied, your comments will have created the appearance of impropriety and self-interest in the performance of your duties.  This is a charge all public servants should do their best to avoid.

In addition to placing in doubt the objectivity of your office during the petition verification process, we believe the best course for our chief elections officer is to not endorse any position on a ballot issue. When Ken Blackwell was Secretary of State and served simultaneously as the Bush re-election campaign chairperson, it created the appearance of unfairness from our chief elections officer. Just as poll workers cannot campaign at the polling place, we do not feel it is in the best interest of Ohioans for their chief elections officer to campaign for or against a ballot issue.

We urge you to refrain from making further comments against Voters First until a review of the petitions is completed. We would welcome your future neutrality on ballot issues after they are set for the ballot and until voters have their say.

Sincerely,

Eric H. Kearney                                 
Minority Leader, Ohio Senate    
9th  Senate District                           

Armond Budish
Minority Leader, Ohio House of Representative
8th House District

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Funding Delays for Successful, Job-Creating Third Frontier Program ‘Unacceptable’

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish sent a letter to Gov. John Kasich today expressing his deep concern over ongoing funding delays in the bipartisan Ohio Third Frontier Program. Third Frontier was overwhelmingly approved by voters, and has a long -history of success in helping to create new jobs in technology and innovation, but has remained nearly idle for more than 18 months now. A copy of Leader Budish’s letter can be seen below.

The Honorable John R. Kasich
Office of the Governor
77 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
 

Dear Gov. Kasich:

 I write to express my serious concern over the harm to economic development in Ohio being caused by prolonged funding delays in the Ohio Third Frontier Program.

 Ohio Third Frontier is a proven, job-creating economic development tool that was initially approved by the voters in 2005 and renewed and expanded in 2010.  It has a long history of bipartisan support and is considered by some to be a model economic development program envied by other states. 

As a passionate advocate for the program, I am very concerned about unwarranted delays in the funding of new projects under this program. At a time of serious economic challenges for Ohioans, I do not understand why there is not a greater sense of urgency to make these job-creation resources available more quickly. Moreover, the delays have created uncertainty and a loss of momentum, which jeopardizes the entire program.

I understand the desire for programmatic reviews, but after 18 months the Third Frontier remains stalled and over two-thirds of its funding capacity for Fiscal Year 2012 has been delayed.  Furthermore, these funding delays are with programs that the Ohio Third Frontier Commission and the Ohio Department of Development reviewed, analyzed and approved in October 2011.

The politicization of the Third Frontier approval process is also of great concern.  During the previous General Assembly there was bipartisan support to ensure that projects were awarded based on objective criteria applied by an independent review process. Yet, over the last year and against recommendations made by the Third Frontier independent reviewers, recommendations have been ignored or rejected.

The recent rejection of the LEEDCo project is a prime example of the potential perversion of the program. As you know, this project was preliminarily approved by an outside reviewer, the Ohio Department of Development, and business leaders who are representatives on the commission.  Following these approvals, the project was then denied by a majority of the commission, with little explanation or justification.

The inexplicable delays in this successful, bipartisan program have caused missed opportunities for job creation and have sent dangerous warning signs to investors, entrepreneurs and other job creators that this program is no longer a priority for Ohio. I hope that is not the case, but the slowed pace of funding and the recent denial of the LEEDCo project certainly indicate otherwise.

The Third Frontier was carefully designed to support entrepreneurs and research and development projects leading to new jobs in technology and innovation.  The financial returns to the state from all of this work were analyzed and reported by the Ohio Business Roundtable (attached) in preparation for the 2010 ballot initiative, so we can be confident that this program is making a significant impact.

It is my sincere hope that the funds will not be diverted to support other unrelated projects, possibly violating the letter and spirit of the Constitutional Amendment approved overwhelmingly by Ohioans. Any further delays in this successful, job creating program are simply unacceptable and only inhibit Ohio’s economic competitiveness.

Respectfully,

State Rep. Armond Budish,
Ohio House Minority Leader

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Budish: Frack Tax should be Reviewed, Schools shouldn’t be Shortchanged

In response to Gov. John Kasich’s renewed push to increase the severance tax on oil and gas companies, House Democratic Leader Armond Budish released the following statement:

“Gov. Kasich’s proposal to modestly increase the severance tax on oil and gas companies is a step in the right direction.  But we should be protecting local property taxpayers and prioritizing our communities, not passing more tax cuts that disproportionately benefit wealthy Ohioans. 

“Ohio has one of the lowest severance tax rates in the country so reviewing those rates only makes sense as large oil and gas companies attempt to capitalize on Ohio’s natural resources.  On this, I agree with Gov. Kasich and frankly I can’t understand why House Republicans have stood in the way.

“Instead of protecting the oil and gas industry with one of the lowest tax rates in the country, we should be finding ways to prioritize our communities and protect local property taxpayers. The fallout from last year’s budget is just beginning.  In next month’s special election alone, 35 communities will be seeking local property tax increases.

“Furthermore, the impact of this new industry is going to add significant costs for local communities and this proposal does very little to address this. There’s also serious concern about protecting against environmental risk.  As of 2011, Ohio had only 30 field inspectors to inspect 64,481 wells. Adding a few more will help but our overall regulatory capacity is still limited.

“I truly believe that our state is only as strong as our local communities.  Going forward, we must prioritize Ohio communities and protect local property taxpayers.  I agree with Gov. Kasich, we should determine a fair frack tax rate, but we shouldn’t shortchange our schools and local communities along the way.”

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Leader Budish Praises the President as Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish released the following statement praising President Obama for the continued drop in unemployment in Ohio. April’s unemployment numbers were released today showing Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.5 percent to 7.4 percent in April.

“Ohio’s continued drop in unemployment is proof that President Obama’ policies are working.  This is particularly impressive in light of the massive job losses resulting from Governor Kasich’s budget cuts and other attacks on middle class workers. If the Governor and his Republican cohorts in the legislature would put aside their extremist and divisive social agenda, and instead focus on job creation, we could be putting a lot more Ohioans back to work.”

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