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State Rep. Kathleen Clyde gave members of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce an update on the state's "fantasy budget" and other legislation Thursday morning at the Erie Street Kitchen.
She said she voted against the budget, in part, because it's out of balance by $800 million, which is why she said some legislators are referring to it as the "fantasy budget."
She said she blames the budget shortfall on tax policy that shifts the burden from the wealthy to the middle class.
"This budget isn't balanced because of years of irresponsible budgeting at the state level," she said. "Ohio's economy -- it's tough times right now. I do think it's time for a new approach in Ohio. These years of tax shifting from the wealthy to the middle class and working poor is not working."
She said there's still time to weigh in on the budget, which is before the state senate and must be signed by Gov. Kasich by June 30.
For years, she said the state, under Republican majorities and Kasich's leadership, has underfunded local governments and services, including mental health and addiction.
"I believe there's a reason Ohio is No. 1 in heroin overdose deaths," she said. "It's because our state is not doing enough and has underfunded these critical services."
Clyde also highlighted several bills she's backed and several she was against, some of which were passed during "one of the craziest lame duck sessions we've had in a long time" last November.
"There were dozens of bills passed," she said. "We were in session until the early hours in the morning, 1 and 2 a.m."
One of those was the so-called "Petland Bill," which took effect in March. That bill rules that cities can't pass laws restricting where pet stores get their puppies that they sell. Clyde said the concern was that pet stores were using puppy mills as suppliers. Added to this bill were rules against cities adopting a minimum wage, which Cleveland was considering, and rules that cities can't regulate the installation of wireless technology in rights of way.
"It's yet another attack on local control," said Clyde.
Clyde also said she was against the state's rollback of green energy standards, which is before the senate, and a six- and 20-week abortion bans. Kasich vetoed the six-week ban, but the 20-week one was adopted.
Clyde said she's introduced the so-called "Trump bill," which would require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns to get on the Ohio ballot.
"Historically, we've seen candidates for the last 30 years provide tax returns," she said. "It requires five years of tax returns, which is pretty much the standard of what we've been provided in the past."
She also is a proponent of automatic voter registration, which she said would make the polls more accessible for many.
"We immediately would see over 1 million voters added to the polls," she said. "If they want to participate, they're not prevented from doing so by being purged or unregistered."
Clyde also said she favors an Ohio Equal Pay bill, which would require companies accepting public money to show that they're paying women the same amount as their male counterparts for similar jobs.
"I feel like men and women support equal pay," she said. "It helps working families; it helps your daughters, your families, your moms."
Currently, she said Ohio women are paid 78 cents on the dollar for the same position that a man is doing.