Posts Tagged 'State Rep. Matt Lundy'

Schools Across State Starving in Face of Historically Deep Budget Cuts

As the Ohio House Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education prepares to meet tonight at Lima High School, 1 Spartan Way in Lima at 6pm, State Rep. Matt Lundy (D- Elyria) highlighted the need to put our kids and communities first as they face financial crisis.

Ohio school districts are projecting huge deficits because of $1.4 billion in cuts to education in the state’s operating budget, which passed along party lines.  Schools in Allen County were cut a total of more than $11 million for fiscal years 2012-13 when compared to 2011, including $2.39 million from Lima City Schools and nearly $2 million from Shawnee Local School. Districts across the state are left to struggle with the best way to prepare children for the future with larger class sizes, fewer music and art programs, costly extra-curricular activities and limited or no busing. 

“Rather than addressing the brewing financial crisis facing communities like Lima, where the city schools face a projected deficit of $1.24 million dollars for fiscal year 2013 and more than $3 million for fiscal year 2014, Republicans have decimated school funding.  Schools across the state struggle to cope with unfunded mandates, large class sizes and few teachers in the classroom,” said Rep. Lundy.

House Bill 30 dismantled education reforms set in place by Democrats taking apart key provisions like all-day kindergarten, and it removed the Evidence Based Model for education, returning us to an unconstitutional funding system that is overly reliant on property taxes, while we wait for Gov. Kasich to introduce his own plan, and hold hearings around the state nearly two years later.

“It’s been 15 years since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that our school funding system is unconstitutional because it relies too heavily on local property tax,” said State Rep. Matt Lundy. “Today, as schools face tough decisions this reliance is only growing, and rather than finding long-term solutions that benefit our students legislators like Rep. Matt Huffman propose taking more money away form public education (HB 136) and handing it to unaccountable for-profit charter schools.”

35 school districts asked citizens to pass levies, increasing their local property taxes, during special elections just last week, with the overwhelming majority of them failing. While school districts across the state are facing a combined school-funding deficit of over $1.79 billion in fiscal year 2014. This is based on a calculation of each school district’s five-year projection of finances, which is required to be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education. Policy Matters Ohio also estimates that school districts in “Fiscal Watch” or “Fiscal Emergency” could spike by 300 percent this year, from 14 to 43.

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Reps. Lundy & Gerberry Introduce Two-Day “Back-to-School” Sales Tax Holiday

State Representatives Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) and Ron Gerberry (D- Austintown) introduced House Bill 581, which would create an annual two-day “Back to School Sales Tax Holiday” period in August.  During this time sales of “back-to-school” clothing, school supplies, personal computers and computer accessories, up to a certain limit, would be exempt from sales and use taxes.

“Back -to-school shopping can be very expensive for Ohio families.  It is my hope that this tax break will help to ease the expense of properly preparing our children for the school year, and allow families to invest in the necessary supplies for students,” said Rep. Lundy.  “I hope that this brief tax holiday can act as an incentive to generate more retail activity in our state.”

This legislation seeks to provide tax relief for working families and increase revenues for local retail businesses.  The tax exemption would extend to clothing priced under $100, school supplies priced under $100, personal computers less than $750, and computer accessories priced less than $100.

“I am happy to sponsor this legislation with Representative Lundy.  I believe this bill will encourage eastern Ohio residents to do their back-to-school shopping in our state rather than going across the border to Pennsylvania where they do not have to pay sales tax on clothing”, stated Representative Gerberry.

The bill now awaits assignment to a House committee for formal hearings.

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Schools Across State Starving in Face of Historically Deep Budget Cuts

As the Ohio House Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education prepares to meet at the Warren County ESC, in Lebanon, State Rep. Matt Lundy highlighted the need to put our kids and communities first as they face financial crisis.

Ohio school districts are projecting huge deficits because of $1.4 billion in cuts to education in the state’s operating budget, which passed along party lines.  Schools in Warren County were cut a total of nearly $27 million for fiscal years 2012-13 when compared to 2011, including more than $4 million from Lebanon City Schools and $9 million from Mason City School. Districts across the state are left to struggle with the best way to prepare children for the future with larger class sizes, fewer music and art programs, costly extra-curricular activities and limited or no busing. 

“Rather than addressing the brewing financial crisis facing communities like Lebanon, where the city schools face a projected deficit of nearly $2 million dollars for fiscal year 2013 and more than $3 million for fiscal year 2014, Republicans have decimated school funding.  Schools across the state struggle to cope with unfunded mandates, large class sizes and few teachers in the classroom,” said Rep. Lundy.

House Bill 30 dismantled education reforms set in place by Democrats taking apart key provisions like all-day kindergarten, and it removed the Evidence Based Model for education, returning us to an unconstitutional funding system that is overly reliant on property taxes, while we wait for Gov. Kasich to introduce his own plan, and hold hearings around the state nearly two years later.

“It’s been 15 years since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that our school funding system is unconstitutional because it relies too heavily on local property tax,” said State Rep. Matt Lundy. “Today, as schools face tough decisions this reliance is only growing, while we just begin to have hearings nearly two years after dismantling the Evidence Based Model that would have helped to reduce the burden on local property taxpayers.”

35 school districts are preparing to ask citizens to pass levies, increasing their local property taxes, during special elections in August. While school districts across the state are facing a combined school-funding deficit of over $1.79 billion in fiscal year 2014. This is based on a calculation of each school district’s five-year projection of finances, which is required to be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education. Policy Matters Ohio also estimates that school districts in “Fiscal Watch” or “Fiscal Emergency” could spike by 300 percent this year, from 14 to 43.

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House Dems Call on Legislative Leaders to Convene a Transparency Taskforce

State Reps. Ted Celeste (D- Grandview); Jay P. Goyal (D- Mansfield); Matt Lundy (D- Elyria); and Connie Pillich (D- Cincinnati) held a news conference to discuss the lack of transparency across government.  This comes after the release of a national report by the Center for Public Integrity in which Ohio received an overall grade of “D” for risk of corruption.

“We call on our legislative leaders today to take action and convene a special taskforce to review the current laws and enforcement practices and to take the necessary steps to correct problems, and ensure full accountability and transparency throughout government,” said Rep. Goyal.  “We have a responsibility to the people of Ohio and it is simply unacceptable for us to fail to ensure government is working for Ohioan’s best interest at all times, not for special interest or influences.”

The lawmakers sent a letter to legislative leaders today calling for them to convene a special bi-partisan taskforce to review the enforcement practices of current laws and consider new legislation to strengthen accountability and transparency across government.  The letter also calls for hearings on bills already introduced that address several of the areas covered in the report. A copy of the letter can be seen below.

There have been numerous concerns raised in recent weeks involving a lack of transparency and accountability inside and outside of government. Most recently state and federal law-enforcement officers have been called on to investigate potential quid pro quo dealings. 

“This Governor is determined to operate this state in the dark. We can never let that happen. If you have nothing to hide you should always want the process to be as open as possible,” said Rep. Lundy.  “As legislators we must take action to correct these problems immediately.”

Other instances include serious questions surrounding the state’s top independent watchdog, Inspector General Randy Meyer, and his ability to objectively investigate fraud and corruption.  These questions came to the forefront after Mr. Meyer participated in the most partisan of activities by headlining a GOP fundraiser.

“At a time when the people of Ohio feel Columbus and government are out of touch and unaccountable, the role of an independent Ohio Inspector General is more important than ever,” said Rep. Pillich. “It is simply unacceptable for Ohio to not address these ongoing issues of lack of transparency and possible corruption in our state government.”

“Ohio leads the nation in terms of political gerrymandering,” said Rep. Celeste.  “Last year’s attempt at redrawing statewide and Congressional boundaries was done in such a way to deliberately withhold information from the public about redistricting.  As elected officials who represent the best interests of our constituents, we should demand better from ourselves and from each other.”

Not surprisingly, Ohio received an “F” in the State Integrity Investigation for redistricting, legislative accountability, and lobbying disclosure.

A copy of the letter sent to legislative leaders can be seen below.

March 26, 2012

Dear Honorable Leaders of the Ohio General Assembly,

We write today with great concern over the recent ethics report from the State Integrity Investigation, in which Ohio received a “D” grade overall.  Among the various 14 categories in which Ohio was graded, we received only two grades higher than a “C-”. 

Specifically, Ohio received a “C-” for both public access to information and political financing; a “D-” for both executive and judicial accountability; and an “F” for redistricting, legislative accountability, and lobbying disclosure.

This situation is unacceptable, and needs to be dealt with.  Therefore, we are hereby calling upon the leaders of the Ohio General Assembly to create a bi-partisan taskforce to review the enforcement practices of current laws and consider new legislation to strengthen accountability and transparency.

Furthermore, each of us has already introduced legislation that would address many of the areas that received among the lowest of grades.  Thus far not one of these bills has received a single committee hearing.  Not only are these important bills not getting passed, but they are not even being considered and discussed.  Therefore, we are hereby calling on the following bills to be called up for committee hearings immediately upon the legislature’s return from spring recess: HBs 55, 113, 294, 413, 451 and HJR 5.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

Jay P. Goyal
State Representative
District 73
Connie Pillich
State Representative
District 28

Ted Celeste
State Representative
District 24

Matt Lundy
State Representative
District 57

C: Speaker William Batchelder, Senate President Thomas Niehaus, Minority Leader Armond Budish, Minority Leader Eric Kearny


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