Amy Hanauer

Amy Hanauer is executive director of Policy Matters Ohio.

Recent Articles

States of Change

The election win wasn’t just about Congress. Many of the openings for democratic reform will be in the states.

This article appears in the Winter 2019 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Minnesotans, with their comparatively generous social safety net, live seven years longer than people in conservative (and low-income) Mississippi. Louisianans are more than five times more likely to be in prison as Mainers. And in New York, where bargaining rights are better protected, roughly a quarter of workers enjoy the security and wage premium of union membership, compared with fewer than 4 percent in union-hostile South Carolina. While other factors contribute to these realities, it’s safe to say that state policy matters immensely. The right gets this. In the 1970s, conservatives set their sights on statehouses as the best (and most readily captured) mechanism for rolling back the gains of the New Deal, the Great Society, and the civil rights movement. This assault is both intensely damaging and profoundly undemocratic. Its electoral gains depend on an unprecedented attack...

Buckeye Budget Blues

Ohio has all the reform elements in place -- except political will.

In Ohio, decades of deindustrialization, a tax-cut strategy pursued with nearly equal zeal by both parties, and the deep recession combine to create a severe fiscal nightmare. There are some promising glimpses of momentum building for a smarter, more progressive approach. But despite a swing toward the Democrats in recent years, fundamental reform has yet to materialize. Ohio faced a budget shortfall of $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2009 and a shortfall of $3.3 billion in fiscal year 2010. Last summer Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio legislators cobbled together a deal that relied on much-needed federal fiscal relief to states, more than $2 billion in excruciating budget cuts, and a scheme to allow video slot machines at horse-racing tracks in this traditionally anti-gambling state. However, the Ohio Supreme Court said the gambling extension required voter approval through referendum, forcing lawmakers to play another hand. Ohio Democrats, who took over the governorship in 2007 and the Ohio...