Investing in education is Key to Ohio's Future

Investing in education is the key to Ohio's long term economic and social prosperity. That's the message from a new study performed by think tank Policy Matters.

Over the last 30 years, median wages have fallen in Ohio as growth in our education levels has not kept up with other states. This paper finds a clear and strong correlation between the educational attainment of a state’s workforce and median wages in the state, providing more evidence that Ohio should invest in education.

Analysis shows no relationship between tax rates and strong state economy
States that invest in a well-educated workforce will see returns in higher-wage jobs and a more productive economy, according to a paper released today by the Economic Analysis and Research Network.

The report, “Education Investment is Key to State Prosperity,” found a strong link between educational attainment in a state and both productivity and median wages. Expanding access to high-quality education will create more economic opportunity for residents and do more to strengthen a state’s economy than anything else a state can do, study authors found.

“States have fewer tools to build a strong economy than the federal government does, but states do play a major role in education – one area that turns out to be crucial for building a high-wage economy,” said Noah Berger, report co-author and president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. At the same time, the paper found no clear relationship between a state’s tax rates and its wages. Ohio has cut taxes repeatedly over the past dozen years with little positive effect on the economy, but continues to underfund education.

“This study provides more evidence that Ohio should invest in education,” said Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, EARN’s Ohio partner. “Over the last 30 years, median wages have fallen here as growth in our education levels has not kept up with other states.”

The report has some key findings

  • Overwhelmingly, high-wage states have a well-educated workforce.
  • Cutting taxes undermines states’ ability to invest in education.
  • Education has suffered as state economic development wars have escalated.
  • Median wages in Ohio have fallen over the last 30 years, while the state lags most others in growth in educational attainment.

These findings are in contrast to the policies currently being pursued by the Governor and his legislative allies. Even the Dispatch, a long time supporter of the Governor has began to notice that his policies are not working

Ohio has lost government jobs at a steeper rate than most of the United States since January 2009, and the cratering public sector is having a negative impact on the state’s overall economic recovery.

During the past 4 1/2 years, a period that includes the end of a national recession, Ohio has shed 47,900 federal, state and local government jobs for a 6 percent drop, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Only California, New York and Florida have lost more government jobs, and Ohio’s drop percentage is more than triple the national median rate.

Most of Ohio’s public-sector pain has been felt at the local level — think police forces, firehouses, road crews and schools — where 45,100 jobs have been lost, an 8 percent decline.

Ohio has added 10,100 net jobs in that time, counting all nonfarming employment.

We clearly need a new direction, one that prioritizes what works over what doesn't. One that fully funds an education for all of Ohio's students, so we can secure our future.