Local Leaders Ask Voters to Support Issue 33 to Meet Critical Health and Human Services Funding Needs


Voting FOR Issue 33 Will Help Save Lives, Protect Children, Treat Addictions and Illnesses, and Support Seniors

CLEVELAND, JANUARY 29, 2020—Cuyahoga County’s Health and Human Services system, which provides vital lifelines for more than 400,000 residents facing critical needs, is itself in critical need of more funding, and today community leaders kicked off their campaign to pass Issue 33, the Health and Human Services Levy.
“Health and Human Services help keep people alive, healthy and functioning, and are the most critical and direct local investment that we make in each other,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “More than one out of three Cuyahoga County residents rely on our Health and Human Services system every year, and the need for these services is growing.”
“Issue 33 is a small increase that will have a HUGE impact,” said Cuyahoga County Council President Dan Brady. “Issue 33 will help save lives, protect children, treat illnesses and addictions, and protect seniors. It is VITAL to our future.”
Voters are being asked to consider Issue 33, a replacement Health and Human Services property tax levy of 4.7 mills that will appear on the 2020 Primary Election ballot. If passed, Issue 33 would increase the current millage rate of 3.9 mills by 0.8 mill and would be effective from 2021-2028. Under Issue 33, property owners would pay an additional $41 a year for every $100,000 in property value— a little less than $3.50 per month.
Issue 33’s leaders attributed the need for additional health and human services funding to four primary factors:

  • Protracted Poverty: Cleveland is now the second-poorest major city in the country, and one out of five Cuyahoga County residents live in poverty, which for a family of three is an annual income of $21,330 or less. And unlike much of the U.S., poverty in Cuyahoga County has increased since the Great Recession.
  • The Opioid Epidemic: The rate of opioid-induced deaths in the county is 2.5 times the national average; in the City of Cleveland, it is five times the national average. Since 2016, opioid addiction among parents has caused the number of children in Cuyahoga County who are in foster care or under protective supervision to grow by nearly 70%—nearly 1,500 additional children.
  • Demographic Challenges and Needs: Cuyahoga County is now home to more residents who are over 60 than are under 20. Several age groups of county residents—including infants, working-age adults and older adults 65-74—have mortality rates higher than the state average. In 2017, neonatal infant mortality for all children born in Cuyahoga County was worse than it was in many impoverished countries.
  • Insufficient Federal and State Support: Successive federal and state administrations have reduced their contributions to the Health and Human Services safety net. Ohio’s funding for children’s services remains the lowest in the nation, even as the number of children in government custody has skyrocketed.

Five goals for Issue 33 that campaign leaders outlined included:

  • Ensuring current critical HHS services continue
  • Reducing infant mortality and saving babies’ lives
  • Protecting thousands of children whose families have been destroyed by the opioid crisis
  • Getting more people into mental health and addiction treatment
  • Helping older residents stay strong, independent and in their homes

A complete list of proposed investments from Issue 33 is available at https://voteforhhs.org/.  

 The Rev. Dr. Larry Macon Sr., Pastor of the Mt. Zion Church of Oakwood Village, and President of United Pastors in Mission, called on members of faith communities throughout Cuyahoga County to support the levy.
“The Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services levy makes manifest an ancient tradition that affirms we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” Macon said. “HHS means certainty to provide for those in need, it means safer neighborhoods, stronger families and an abundance of joy for our children.  We must support this effort to build a more perfect community.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson summed up why passing Issue 33 is so urgent.
“Diseases don’t discriminate. Traumatic injuries and economic setbacks can happen to anyone. Issue 33 is an investment in helping people bounce back from these challenges and build better lives for themselves and their families.” Jackson said.
Semanthie Brooks, long-time advocate for seniors in Cuyahoga County and throughout Ohio, said passage of the levy is very much needed.
“This levy is critical because county dollars have been impacted by cuts from both state and federal funding that supports safety net programs,’’ said Brooks. “While we are appreciative of state and federal allocated dollars, current funding does not address food insecurity among older adults age 60 and over, which is a problem because in Ohio more than 1 in 6 older adults face the threat of hunger. HHS dollars help to fight social isolation of seniors, offer support for victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation and help support older and disabled adults with homemaking services and transportation, ultimately saving millions of public dollars because it helps keep these people in their own homes.’’

Dr. Akram Boutros, CEO of the MetroHealth System, pledged to work with the Center for Community Solutions to develop metrics that will track the effectiveness of HHS expenditures. 
“We see a growing demand for numerous types of vital health and human services at MetroHealth,” Boutros said. “I’m looking forward to working with Cuyahoga County, the Center for Community Solutions, and other stakeholders to ensure investments from Issue 33 have the broadest possible impact.”

One Reply to “Local Leaders Ask Voters to Support Issue 33 to Meet Critical Health and Human Services Funding Needs”

  1. what exactly are we now paying for health and human services per year for each $100,000 of home evaluation, and what will we be paying if issue 33 passes. If I read your web site correctly it says my taxes will increase by $3.50 per month which is $42 a year not $41. is this $42 on top of what we are already paying for health and human services. That is a lot considering just about every city in the state is consistently asking for more money for schools since the governor cut state income taxes and other taxes which benefited the rich a whole lot more then the overage working man. Every school district in the state other then those in affluent districts are in financial trouble because of those tax breaks. I know these things are important but where does it end. If issue 33 passes I want to know exactly what I will pay per $100,000 of my home evaluation.

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