Policy Matters Ohio

Gov. Mike DeWine is asking county judges to hold hearings for the possible release of inmates who are pregnant, recently gave birth, or over the age of 60 with little time left in their sentence.

Report: Ohio's Student-Debt Law Is 'Punitive'

Feb 26, 2020

Updated: 10:53 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020

An Ohio law requiring colleges to turn over student debt to the state attorney general’s office for collection is disproportionally harming low-income students of color, according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based nonprofit.

photo of Tara Brown's former house

When the housing bubble burst, it left a trail of dilapidated homes in Ohio’s cities and rural communities. A decade later, that gave birth to a new problem for those communities: lease-to-own deals that promised a piece of the American dream but often turned out to be nightmares. 

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As productivity continues to grow in Ohio, wages have remained stagnant. That’s among the findings in a new report from Policy Matters Ohio analyzing Ohio’s labor market.

photo of Gov. Mike DeWine

There are no tax cuts in Gov. Mike DeWine’s first budget. Lawmakers may change that when they introduce their version of it soon. But they probably won’t change the $19.2 billion in tax credits and loopholes in it. Two politically opposite researchers are concerned about those tax breaks.

a photo of computer on a table

State lawmakers have said they want an income tax cut in the upcoming budget, but Gov. Mike DeWine wants them to invest big money in children’s initiatives and the opioid crisis. That has some looking in and out of state for money so they can do both. 

a photo of gas pumps

As lawmakers are working out differences in their transportation budgets, there’s one thing in the Senate’s version that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with transportation – a change in a tax credit designed for low-income people. It's being tied to the increase in the gas tax.

gas pump prices

Gov. Mike DeWine says raising the gas tax from 28 cents a gallon to 46 cents a gallon will help fill a $1 billion construction budget shortfall. But the proposal has led to a debate over how it will impact Ohioans.

Democratic lawmakers and left-leaning groups are concerned a gas tax will disproportionately hurt poor people. That includes Policy Matters Ohio’s Victoria Jackson.

photo of prison

A quarter of  Ohio jobs are legally off limits for anyone with a criminal conviction, according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio.

The report finds that as many as one in three Ohioans are barred from certain work due to state laws that restrict access to jobs, housing and civic rights for anyone with a conviction.

Michael Shields is the co-author of this report. He says these laws are too broad and end up hurting businesses as well.

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Tax reforms in the state in recent years have resulted in some big tax breaks for small businesses owners. But a new study shows tens of thousands of them might also be taking advantage of tax breaks that were meant to help the state’s poorest residents. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports.


Hospital hallway

Last year, nearly 1.6 million Ohioans lived in poverty. And a new study is connecting poverty with health, showing where you live in Ohio has a lot to do with how healthy you are. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles has more.


The state’s jobless rate last month was unchanged from July.  But that’s mixed news to some who watch the economy.

American Forum / American Forum

Ohio has been gaining jobs over the last few years, and its unemployment rate hit its lowest level in 17 years a few months ago. But there are other numbers in the state’s economic overview that raise concerns for a progressive group that reviews the economy each year on Labor Day.  

Amy Hanauer with Policy Matters Ohio said the State of Working Ohio report shows workers are more productive and educated, but there are still pay gaps between men and women and whites and African Americans and little wage growth. 

photo of help wanted sign

Ohio’s unemployment rate was up last month. It was 4.5 percent in June, compared with 4.3 percent in May, which was at the lowest level since July 2001. But the number of employed Ohioans increased a bit, too.

An economist with the Buckeye Institute, Andrew Kidd, said the slightly higher number of unemployed Ohioans doesn’t tell the whole story.

A vIew of downtown Akron from Knight Center

A new report shows that among the most common jobs in Akron, few pay enough to eliminate the need for government assistance.

The survey from Policy Matters Ohio shows the top ten includes cashiers, retail salespeople and restaurant workers. And the median salaries for those jobs in Akron are not enough to push a family of three over the threshold for food assistance, which is a little more than $26,000.

Ohio voting sticker

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, May 7:

Lawmakers Push for Change in Minimum Wage

Mar 13, 2018
A photo of Hannah Halbert, a researcher with Policy Matters Ohio

Democratic Ohio lawmakers are making another effort to raise the state’s minimum wage. 

A new report by the progressive leaning think tank Policy Matters Ohio shows the poorest 30 percent of Ohio’s workers have lost about 40 cents an hour in pay since 1979. The group’s Hannah Halbert says a lot of people can’t make ends meet anymore.

photo of job losses in Ohio

The number of manufacturing jobs in Ohio has slowly ticked up in recent months, but a new report finds several trends that could undermine the future of the industry.

The report is by the left-leaning think tank Policy Matters Ohio. And its main message can be summed up as, “nice work, IF you can get it.” The average salary for a production job is $59,000. But the report's author, Michael Shields, says those well-paying gigs are becoming harder to get, especially for young people.

photo of Hannah Halbert

The state’s jobless rate has fallen to 4.7 percent, its lowest level since last March. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.

January’s unemployment rate went down 0.2 of a point from December’s revised rate of 4.9 percent. Hannah Halbert from the progressive think tank Policy Matters Ohio says that’s good news – with a caveat.

photo of Ohio Department of Medicaid

Ohio's GOP Legislature passed a budget last year that requires the state to apply for permission to impose work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid recipients. That could mean thousands of Ohioans could lose their health-care coverage.

General disagreement
Generally, conservatives and liberals disagree strongly over work requirements for Medicaid recipients.  From the right is Rea Hederman with the Buckeye Institute, which calls itself a free market think tank.

Photo of Westlake teachers

For the fifth year in a row, the number of unionized workers in Ohio remained relatively stable. That's according to a report Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But some experts disagree on what the trend means for state policy.

According to the data, about 12.5 percent of Ohio workers are unionized. That's about one in every eight workers. And that ratio hasn't really changed in the past several years.


The GOP tax plan isn't done yet, but tax-policy experts are already predicting benefits for Ohio manufacturers.

Economists always hedge a little when it comes to predicting the future. 

Mark Sniderman is a former policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. What he is willing to say is, “I see some benefits from the tax reform over the next couple of years, but then I see those benefits kind of gradually fading out."


An annual review of conditions for Ohio’s workers shows signs of improvement in some areas. But as Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, the word from progressive group Policy Matters Ohio is that there are still plenty of problem areas.

Donald Trump speaking at one of his rallys

Policy Matters Ohio says President Trump has a long way to go before delivering on his promise to restore blue-collar jobs in the state.

photo of Rachel Peterson

Facebook plans to build its 10th data center in New Albany in central Ohio, to open in 2019. The $750 million project comes with a mixture of local and state funding incentives.

Facebook’s Rachel Peterson says the project, which will get unspecified local and state tax credits, will be good for Ohio.