Today, ahead of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s first State of the State address, For Our Future Ohio (FOF-OH) is taking a look at how eight years of Republican control in Columbus has left Ohio workers, families, and communities behind.
“Eight years of Republican control in Columbus has put Ohio on the wrong track,” said For Our Future Ohio spokesperson Daniel van Hoogstraten. “Without a course correction from Governor Mike DeWine and his administration, Ohio will continue to fall behind the rest of the nation.”
Ahead of DeWine’s State of the State address, here’s a look at how Ohio trails the nation on several indicators:
Ohio has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country.
Ohio ranks 44th in the nation for employment, which means only six other states and the District of Columbia have an unemployment rate higher than Ohio’s.
Wage growth in Ohio has stalled, and many common jobs pay poverty wages.
As The Columbus Dispatch reported last year, “Wage growth has been spotty, with paychecks barely changing for many.” At the same time, Ohio’s most common jobs pay wages so low that many families can hardly stay afloat.
Ohio ranks poorly for college affordability and student debt.
Ohio is ranked 45th worst in college affordability, making college increasingly out of reach for Ohio families. Meanwhile, Ohio is the 5th worst state for student debt and Ohioans currently owe more than $57 billion in student debt.
Many Ohioans — including Ohio children — experience food insecurity and hunger.
More than 15 percent of Ohio households and more than 20 percent of Ohio children experienced food insecurity in 2016. The national food insecurity rate is 12.9 percent.
Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio has the 11th highest rate of babies dying before their first birthday. There are also huge racial disparities in birth outcomes: In 2017, black infants in Ohio died at three times the rate of white infants.
Ohio ranks 2nd in the nation for opioid deaths.
The opioid epidemic continues to devastate Ohio. In 2017, the number of drug overdose deaths in Ohio reached a record high, with more than 4,800 Ohioans dying from a drug overdose. As many as 170,000 Ohioans are currently abusing or addicted to opioids.
Ohio children are experiencing lead poisoning at alarming rates.
Children in Cleveland are poisoned by lead at a rate four times higher than the national average. In Toledo, “nearly 3,500 children in the city now are suffering the lifelong, permanent disabilities that come with lead poisoning.” Lead poisoning isn’t just impacting large Ohio cities: the Village of Sebring, Ohio recently experienced its own water crisis due to elevated levels of lead in drinking water.
Ohio is among the worst states for LGBTQ equality.
Ohio falls far short of other states when it comes to LGBTQ equality. Notably, then-Attorney General Mike DeWine fought against marriage equality in a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Even though the Supreme Court ruled to make marriage equality the law of the land, DeWine continues to oppose same-sex marriage.