House Democrats unveiled their “priorities to strengthen the middle class” Jan. 31, in the meantime pillorying what they described as Republicans’ “extremist partisan agenda.”

Some of the proposals House Democrats touted during a Statehouse news conference resemble bills that members introduced last session to address issues such as foreclosure and economic development incentives, charter school accountability, and human trafficking.

Caucus members described an agenda including the following proposals:

  • Increase funding for the new markets tax credit, the historic preservation tax credit and the film tax credit
  • Create a health insurance exchange.
  • Dedicate any surplus revenue to a Local Government Jobs Fund that would help fund local police and firefighters.
  • Expand oversight of public funding for the new private non-profit JobsOhio entity..
  • Require licensing for mortgage servicers, increase protections for renters, and enact other measures designed to address the foreclosure crisis.
  • Require banks to provide a cash bond for the continued maintenance of a foreclosed property throughout its vacancy or buy the home back at sheriff’s sale.
  • Revise election law to make it easier to vote.
  • Prohibit employer discrimination against unemployed workers and the classification of full-time employees as contractors.
  • Provide more oversight public funding to for-profit charter schools and will reduce the amount of money going to failing charters.
  • Expand the Ohio Workforce Guarantee program and align it with JobsOhio.

Rep. Budish said all of the proposals would not cost the state any money or be self-funding, such as economic development incentives that would ultimately generate more tax revenue. “We have not raised costs in any way, shape or form,” he said.