September 18, 2006

Election Year Gimmicks in the Buckeye State

Taxes are a huge issue this year in Ohio.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell says he wants to "put his foot on the accelerator of tax reform.'' Yet, many in Ohio are hoping Blackwell will keep his foot away from the tax issue altogether. Especially given that many believe tax reform already happened in the form of 21% "across the board" income tax cuts and a corporate tax overhaul.

Blackwell has also come out as a strong proponent of instituting a 3.25% flat tax and has promised to take 1.8 million people off the tax rolls too. Specifics about his plan are murky, but flat taxes aren't based on people's ability to pay and are inherently unfair. Let's hope Ohio voters see through this ploy.

Legislators seem to have the November election on their minds too. In a move that highlights election year gimmicks, Ohio legislators sitting on the Ways and Means Committee voted 17 to 1 to accelerate the phasing in of 21% across the board income tax cuts. If this plan is passed through the legislature these regressive and expensive tax cuts will be fully phased in by 2008 instead of 2009 as currently scheduled.

The regressive cuts do little to help low and middle income families, and speeding up these tax cuts will leave an even larger hole in the state's budget. For more on the regressive nature of these tax cuts, read this release by Policy Matters Ohio.


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