Ohio lawmakers approved legislation this fall that will require more accountability and transparency in charter schools, which now educate one of every 10 students in the Buckeye State. Between 2003 and 2013, federal data show, enrollment in these alternative public schools jumped from 3.4 percent to 10.0 percent in Ohio.
New policies in three Midwestern states have the goals of boosting immunization rates among young people and preventing the spread of disease.
In his home legislative district, Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite knows well the dilemma facing local agricultural producers: Their tax bills are skyrocketing (by an average of 62 percent this year), he says, while returns are declining and operational costs are rising.
But finding a legislative fix to the problem is much easier said than done.
“Discussion on use value could backfire on farmers,” says Hite, noting that Ohio, like most states, has “an increasingly urban electorate and legislature not understanding why farmers should get a tax reduction.”
In Ohio, and most other Midwestern states, farmland is appraised using a formula based on “current agricultural use value.” Based on factors such as commodity prices, soil productivity, rental rates, production expenses and interest rates, the state determines the income that a farmer can be expected to earn on his or her land.