Last updated: March 06. 2014 9:23PM - 445 Views

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Infant mortality in Ohio

An African-American baby born on the West Side of Cleveland in 2013 has less of a chance to survive his or her first year of life than an infant born in such faraway and far less developed nations as Libya, Botswana, the Gaza Strip, Thailand and Tonga.

That disheartening data, culled from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, paints a bleak picture of the crisis of infant mortality in Ohio, particularly among African Americans. Even more disturbing is that Ohio’s rate ranks among the deadliest in the entire United States.

The Buckeye State falls 48th in the nation in its overall infant mortality rate and 49th among African Americans.

This plague demands a concerted multipronged remedy. Fortunately for Ohioans, two state senators have stepped up to the plate to offer a set of viable tools toward decreasing our shamefully high infant-mortality rate and increasing the quantity and quality of life for our state’s newest and most innocent residents.

Of course, progressive new laws can only do so much to improve the overall health of Ohio babies. Dr. Arthur James, co-director of the Ohio Department of Health’s Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, points out a variety of other factors that play a role in high rates of early childhood deaths.

Therefore as Ohio makes inroads toward revitalizing its economy and increasing quality of life for all, potential beneficiaries include the state’s youngest and most vulnerable residents.

— The Youngstown Vindicator

Kasich’s plans

Gov. John Kasich offered Ohioans a smorgasbord of ideas during his State of the State speech in Medina recently.

While most of the proposals are likely to be incorporated into Kasich’s upcoming 2014 supplemental budget plan, legislators could find some of the offerings unpalatable.

And considering this is an election year, Kasich may not be able to push too hard on certain proposals despite the fact he has Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. Voters, after all, will be watching.

One matter certain to get a closer look is his proposal for new tax cuts, which, if approved, would drop Ohio’s income tax rate to below 5 percent.

Since taking office in 2011, Kasich and the Legislature have reduced taxes by $3 billion by eliminating the death tax, cutting small business taxes in half, and cutting the state income tax by 10 percent. Kasich claims those cuts have helped create jobs and have spurred the economy, but not all experts agree.

While the details have not been disclosed, Kasich would presumably make up for the loss of tax revenue by increasing Ohio’s severance tax on oil and natural gas drilling. But the severance tax has been under discussion for a year and is something Republicans in the

House and Senate can’t even agree on, let alone Democrats.

Other Kasich ideas, though, may get bipartisan support.

In the end, Kasich may get most of what he’s asked for. The question is whether that happens before, or after, the election.

— The Findlay Courier

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